Paramount has yet to release this summer's Star Trek Beyond in theaters (as of this writing), but in typical Hollywood fashion, they're already starting to piece together Star Trek 4. J.J. Abrams, who directed the first two movies in the Kelvin Timeline and produced Beyond, recently confirmed that another film was going to happen and he was very excited about the project. This development was a welcomed one, since the first wave of reviews for Beyond praised it as an entertaining ride. The Star Trek franchise is back on the right track.
Since Star Trek 4 has only just been announced, there isn't much by the way of details available at this point in time. It's long been reported that stars Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto will be back as the dynamic duo of Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock, but most of the film remains a mystery. But now, an intriguing new twist has been revealed, one that raises several big questions.
Scott Mantz of Access Hollywood tweeted out a major Star Trek 4 scoop that came straight from Abrams. Apparently, the upcoming movie will be a tale of father and son, since Pine will be joined by none other than Chris Hemsworth, who played George Kirk in the opening moments of 2009's Star Trek:
— Scott Mantz (@MovieMantz) July 15, 2016
The wording of Mantz's post ("bring together Chris Pine and Chris Hemsworth") suggests that the two will be co-stars in Star Trek 4. This will obviously catch some people off-guard, since George Kirk sacrificed himself to save the lives of the U.S.S. Kelvin crew - just minutes after his son Jim was born. One possible (and likely) explanation is that the filmmakers incorporate the tried and true element of time travel, which has already been used once in modern movies. It will be interesting to see how the two Kirks are united and what their mission will entail.
There's the potential here for a very strong emotional hook as well. The marketing for Star Trek Beyond has made it abundantly clear that James T. Kirk is still trying to break free from the shadow of his father and become his own man. Working with each other should provide both characters with a fascinating set of personal challenges, as they deal with the surreality of the situation. The two will conceivably be in their primes in the new movie, making them more contemporaries than parent and offspring. If handled properly, their dynamic should be a strong point - a riff on Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade - giving the series something fun and different.
As unexpected as this is, it's hard to see too many fans taking issue with the casting news. Since Star Trek first premiered, Hemsworth has made a name for himself as a more-than-capable action hero thanks to his role as Thor in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He possesses a charismatic screen presence that should jell well with Pine's skill set. Ideally, Hemsworth will also be able to interact with other members of the new Trek cast, including Quinto and Karl Urban. Time travel is always a touchy subject due to the paradoxes it can create, but it's best to hold off judgment until the filmmakers state what their exact plan is. For the most part, the Kelvin Timeline has delivered high-quality adventures, so this team has earned the benefit of the doubt.
Star Trek 4 is currently without a release date. We'll keep you updated as more information becomes available.
Star Trek Beyond opens in U.S. theaters July 22, 2016.
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