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"Star Trek 4" was the planned sequel to the 2016 film Star Trek Beyond.

On 18 July 2016, it was announced that J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay will return to write the fourth film in the current series, and that the plot will 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 is 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)

It was indicated the film would be released in 2019. [4]

Leonard McCoy actor Karl Urban has stated that he would like to see McCoy's family in the next film. [5] He later stated that he was confident that the next film would begin filming by 2019. [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 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 little more nuanced; Pine and Quinto had already been signed for the fourth movie 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 forth by an almost unbroken string of financially disappointing movie productions, which included the dismal profitability performance of Beyond – , 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. [17] The August 2018 Hollywood Reporter report implied that the other primary cast members on the other hand, were open to renegotiation. [18] All primary cast regulars, were originally signed for a three-movie 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. [19]

On 9 January 2019, it was reported that Paramount had canceled "Star Trek 4" indefinitely. [20] Incidentally, this was a case of Star Trek history repeating itself; During the period 1988-1991, the studio found itself in near identical (financial) circumstances, which had actually led to the studio cancellation of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country as well initially, before that decision was overturned by conglomerate higher-ups later on (see for specifics on this particular case: main article).

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It is very much conceivable that Paramount has yet to pay those cast members already signed some financial compensation for the cancelled movie, as the contracts for those actors, usually include a "pay-or-play" clause. This clause – backed by the powerful Hollywood Screen Actors Guild – entails 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 all together 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 movie.
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 they might have been approached for – 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 – US$127,500 in 2018 prices – in September 1979 after his intended part as Xon was dropped. (Star Trek Movie Memories, 1995, pp. 111-112) A lesser known, but unconfirmed, example might have been Geneviève Bujold who was signed for the part of Kathryn Janeway, but who had nonetheless been replaced by the producers with Kate Mulgrew after Bujold had already shot several of her scenes.

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