It seems Star Trek 4 might have been shelved by Paramount. Following the box office letdown of Star Trek: Nemesis in 2002, and the later cancellation of prequel TV series Enterprise, the property was left in bad shape. It took J.J. Abrams to breathe new life into the long-running series, which he did with 2009 reboot Star Trek. The movie followed the adventures of the iconic original crew, but thanks to some time travel shenanigans, the story split off into a new timeline. It was a fun combination of the old with the new, but reaction to sequel Star Trek Into Darkness was much more divided.
The movie was criticized for its convoluted plotting, out of character action beats and for essentially remaking Wrath Of Khan. Abrams and the movie’s screenwriters also came under fire for flat out lying that Benedict Cumberbatch’s villain wasn’t Khan. Star Trek Beyond was released to celebrate the franchise’s 50th anniversary, but despite much stronger reviews, the movie was considered a box-office disappointment. The future of the movie series has been in flux recently, with both Star Trek 4 and Quentin Tarantino’s planned Star Trek movie being announced. The former project hit a wall in August when it was revealed contract negotiations with Captain Kirk star Chris Pine and Chris Hemsworth – who played his father George in the 2009 reboot – had collapsed.
Little has been heard about the movie since then, but now a Deadline report reveals attached director S.J. Clarkson has moved on to direct the upcoming Game Of Thrones prequel pilot, and that Star Trek 4 has been shelved. Screen Rant has reached out to Paramount for comment on the movie’s status. UPDATE: Paramount responded to Screen Rant's request for comment, stating, "We have no comment on this for the time being."
Clarkson was announced as Star Trek 4’s director back in April 2018 and would have become the movie franchise's first female director. It’s possible Star Trek Beyond’s disappointing financial haul was a major factor in the movie being shelved, and if Pine has truly exited the series, it would feel odd to recast Kirk while keeping the rest of the current cast. There’s also the question of Tarantino’s Star Trek, which is also said to include the Abrams cast. Reports suggested the director would jump on the movie after finishing Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, so perhaps Paramount decided to focus on that project instead of developing two sequels back to back.
It would be disappointing if Star Trek 4 doesn’t come together, as the Abrams’ cast deserve to give their version of the franchise a proper sendoff. Fans still have Star Trek: Discovery to look forward to, which starts its second season this month. Ethan Peck takes over the part of Spock, and since Discovery is set about a decade before the original series, Peck states his version of the character will be more emotional than fans are used to.