While Star Trek Beyond opens in theaters next week, talk is already turning to the next installment in the rebooted franchise. After helming 2009’s Star Trek and the sequel Star Trek Into Darkness, J.J. Abrams found himself busy with Star Wars: The Force Awakens and stepped back to a producer role for Beyond, with Fast & Furious 6 helmer Justin Lin coming onboard as the franchise’s new director. As Abrams continues to be involved with the franchise, he was in attendance at the recent press conference for the film, which Collider’s own Christina Radish was covering. And when asked if they’ve already thought about ideas for Star Trek 4, Abrams responded enthusiastically:
“Yes, and there’s something that hopefully we’re figuratively minutes away from talking about. The answer is 100% yes, and it’s incredibly exciting.”
It’s not uncommon for studios to start work on sequels before the imminent film is released, but the Trek franchise has been a curious case. The 2009 reboot was a commercial success as was Into Darkness, but neither film hit the heights of other blockbuster franchises like Fast & Furious or Star Wars, and with a new Star Trek TV series coming to CBS in early 2017, many wondered if the film franchise would continue beyond Star Trek Beyond or if Paramount would take a “wait and see” approach with the box office. However, early reactions to the film have been mighty positive, and audiences seem primed for a good blockbuster at last after a pretty disappointing summer overall.
Given Abrams’ excitement, one can imagines they’ve got an interesting idea in place for Star Trek 4, and indeed reporter Scott Mantz tweeted today that such an idea exists: Chris Hemsworth will reportedly be returning to the franchise after playing George Kirk—Chris Pine’s father—in the 2009 film’s fantastic prologue, re-joining the series for Star Trek 4.
— Scott Mantz (@MovieMantz) July 15, 2016
So yeah, that would be kind of huge, and given that Abrams’ 2009 film brought time travel to the table in a big way, pretty damn fitting. Hemsworth was just starting his film career in 2009 but is now a bona fide movie star, so bringing him into the Trek ensemble—especially in such a character-rich way given James Kirk’s struggles to get out from under the shadow of his father—would be mighty exciting.
It’s possible Abrams and Co. will officially announce this casting next week during the film’s Comic-Con premiere, so stay tuned. Star Trek Beyond opens in theaters on July 22nd.