Last year's Star Trek Beyond may not have been the big commercial hit its predecessors were (grossing $343.4 million worldwide on a $185 million production budget), but Paramount is committed to continuing its classic sci-fi franchise. Before Beyond reached theaters, the studio announced their plans to produce Star Trek 4, and they have an interesting twist in store for viewers. Avengers star Chris Hemsworth is set to return as George Kirk, James T. Kirk's father who died in the opening moments of 2009's Star Trek. Per the official synopsis, the movie will feature Hemsworth starring alongside Chris Pine, who reprises adult Kirk once again.
Ever since word of Hemsworth's involvement became public, fans have been interested to learn more details, but those are hard to come by. Development on Star Trek 4 has been slowly coming along, with Simon Pegg teasing last month he's at work on the script. But the pieces are definitely coming into place, as Hemsworth has already had at least one discussion with producer J.J. Abrams.
While on the Golden Globes red carpet, Hemsworth talked with MTV to provide updates on his various franchise obligations. When the conversation turned to Star Trek, the actor revealed that it's "a little further off" than his upcoming Marvel movies, but he has talked with Abrams about his role:
"I've spoken to J.J., and he has an amazing pitch on the whole thing."
Abrams, always one to keep his mystery box intact, has not yet shared the nature of George Kirk's return, though regardless of how it happens, Hemsworth is excited to go back to the Final Frontier. His short part in the first film was quite memorable, so it will be nice to see him be more of a lead in the fourth installment. There are many interesting ways to take this particular story, since in the Kelvin Timeline, James Kirk has spent his entire life living in the shadow of his father's accomplishments. Now, they have to work together to stop an unknown threat, which should be fascinating to watch unfold. It has the potential to be a hybrid of Back to the Future and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. While the official pitch remains under lock and key, it seems reasonable to assume time travel will be involved to get George Kirk back into action.
As for when Star Trek 4 will begin to move forward, Paramount will probably have to hold off for a while. Coincidentally enough, Hemsworth is not the only Trek cast member needed for Avengers: Infinity War. It's recently been confirmed that Zoe Saldana (who plays Uhura in the Kelvin Timeline) will portray her Guardians of the Galaxy character Gamora in Marvel's mega crossover. With that in mind, production on the U.S.S. Enterprise's next mission could begin in 2018 at the earliest for a possible 2019 release. Paramount has only started to get the ball rolling, so there's no need to rush anything yet.
Star Trek 4 does not have an official release date yet. We will keep you posted on the latest information.