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For projects currently in development for the fourteenth Star Trek film, please see Star Trek XV.

"Star Trek 4" was one of the concepts for the fourteenth Star Trek film, and the planned sequel to the 2016 film Star Trek Beyond as the fourth outing in the alternate reality film franchise.


On 18 July 2016, it was announced that J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay would return to write the fourth film in the current series, and that the plot would have James T. Kirk crossing paths with his father George, played again by Chris Hemsworth, reprising the role from Star Trek. [1]

After the death of Pavel Chekov actor Anton Yelchin, Simon Pegg commented, "It's very difficult to talk about the future at the moment because there would be such a gaping hole in it all." He personally does not want to see the role of Pavel Chekov recast. [2] J.J. Abrams concurred, "There's no recasting. I can't possibly imagine that, and I think Anton deserves better." When asked if they would kill off the character, he replied he had thought about it, but it was too soon to discuss. [3] The remaining main cast was expected to return.

Kirk actor Chris Pine has stated that, for the fourth film in the current series, he would like it to be "a slower film." Pine added, "That'd be kind of fun. Kirk and team land on a planet and go explore. It's just not going to happen. But it would be fun to make the Merchant Ivory version, a slow, talky film." When asked if he would be interested in doing a time travel comedy similar to Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, he responded, "Pushing the boundaries would certainly be fun and I love doing comedy. If Simon's behind it... The most fun I have on set is laughing so anytime we can do that I'm way, way into it.'" (SFX, issue 276, p. 55)

Leonard McCoy actor Karl Urban has stated that he would like to see McCoy's family in the next film. [4] He later stated that he was confident that the next film would begin filming by 2019. [5] It was indeed indicated that a 2019 release was intended for the film. [6]

In April 2018, Zachary Quinto commented that he believed that there were at least three scripts in development for the film, with the Beyond sequel and Quentin Tarantino's pitch being just two of them. [7] In the same month, he reiterated that Paramount wanted to make at least one more Star Trek film, implying that the aforementioned scripts could all be turned into films, but Paramount had to decide on the order. [8] At CinemaCon 2018, Paramount CEO Jim Gianopulos revealed the studio was working on two new Star Trek films. [9] The following day, it was reported that S.J. Clarkson was in negotiations to direct this film, which was not Tarantino and Smith's project. Clarkson, a veteran of TV who made her feature film debut with 2010's Toast, would be the first woman to direct a Star Trek picture. [10] Eventually, it was actually confirmed that Clarkson would be the director of the new film. [11] There were rumors of Danai Gurira being considered for one of two female roles in the film, either as a hero or a villain. [12]

According to the Hollywood Reporter, the film was indefinitely delayed following a pay dispute with Pine and Hemsworth in August 2018: the actors allegedly wanted a larger salary, but Paramount refused in an attempt to keep the budget down, arguing Star Trek is not as profitable as the other franchise films the actors have starred in. It caused both actors to walk away from the project. [13]

While Paramount made it appear in their summer 2018 press releases that they were stymied by excessive salary demands from the principal cast, the situation was actually a lot more nuanced; Pine and Quinto had already been signed for the fourth film in June 2015, with financial compensation set, [14] [15] whereas Hemsworth was signed a little over a year later in July 2016, before Beyond was even released. [16] Faced with adverse financial circumstances afterwards brought on by an almost unbroken string of financially disappointing film productions, [17] [18] which included the poor profitability of Beyond, [19] and having in the intervening years lost the lucrative Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) film franchise in 2011 as well, [20] Paramount was in effect trying to break open the already signed contracts and renegotiate the salaries downwards, which was what the two actors did not agree to. [21] The August 2018 Hollywood Reporter report implied that the other primary cast members on the other hand, were open to renegotiation, [22] with most of them, including Quinto, remaining hopeful the film would yet be realized. [23] [24] All primary cast regulars were originally signed for a three-film deal, which was concluded with Beyond.

With no progress made at the start of 2019, Clarkson's schedule was freed up to take on the pilot for a Game of Thrones prequel instead. [25]

On 9 January 2019, it was reported that Paramount had "shelved" – an industry euphemism for cancellation – Star Trek 4 indefinitely, reportedly for being overwhelmed by the breakout success of the in-the-meantime-revitalized Star Wars film franchise and the sky-rocketing success of the post-2011 MCU films, which had elevated Chris Hemsworth to super stardom status by then. [26] Two months earlier, in November 2018, Bad Robot Productions (also the co-producer of the far more successful Star Wars and Mission: Impossible film franchises) had already announced the termination of their original 2006 motion picture development deal with Paramount. [27]

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It is quite conceivable that Paramount has yet to pay those cast members already signed some financial compensation for the cancelled film, as the contracts for those actors usually include a "pay-or-play" clause. This clause – backed by the powerful Hollywood Screen Actors Guild – details that a performer is entitled to a pre-negotiated financial compensation, when, for reasons outside the control of a performer, the part for which an actor is signed falls through and/or if a project is cancelled altogether close to the time period in which a project was slated to start production, which was the case with this fourth alternate reality Star Trek film.

The reasoning behind the clause is that performers need to be compensated for costs they have already incurred in preparation for the cancelled part/production, which also includes clearing their schedules by turning down other parts for which they might have been approached – as long actors are not released from their contracts, they are essentially "reserved" by the studio for the planned production period and not free to accept any other work. The compensation is usually paid upon release from the contract, which in this case would be January 2019.

The hitherto best known Star Trek performer who had been compensated under this clause had previously been David Gautreaux, who was paid US$35,000 in September 1979 – US$127,500 in 2018 prices – after his intended part as Xon was dropped. (Star Trek Movie Memories, 1995, pp. 111-112)


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