Spock actor Zachary Quinto remains hopeful Star Trek 4 will eventually happen. A decade ago, the legendary sci-fi franchise received a new lease on life thanks to director J.J. Abrams' slick and entertaining reboot. Bolstered by fast-paced action and strong performances by the younger cast stepping into iconic roles, Star Trek attracted a new generation of fans and was set for an exciting future. Two sequels to the 2009 film, Into Darkness and Beyond, were made, but failed to recapture the magic of the first movie. The former proved to be divisive amongst hardcore Trekkies due to Wrath of Khan similarities, while Beyond stumbled at the box office.
Prior to Star Trek Beyond's premiere in 2016, plans for a fourth film set within the Kelvin Timeline were set in motion. The story would have seen Captain Kirk cross paths with his father, George (who died in the first movie's opening sequence), and go on another thrilling adventure. Despite having director S.J. Clarkson onboard, Star Trek 4 never really gained traction and started to fall apart when negotiations with Kirk actors Chris Pine and Chris Hemsworth collapsed. More recently, Paramount pulled the plug on Star Trek 4 altogether, casting doubt on the franchise's big screen future. But Quinto is still holding out hope he'll return to the Final Frontier.
Related: Why Star Trek 4 Was Canceled
While at TCA, Quinto spoke with /Film and was asked about the status of Star Trek. Quinto confirmed there are currently "no plans" for a new movie, though he'd be interested in returning if something came together:
“I mean, it’s been a broad conversation that we’ve been having for a while in terms of what’s the future of the franchise. It’s in process so I don’t know exactly what to say other than there’s no plans for a movie happening at this moment.
“I would love to. I feel like it’s been an anchor of my creative life for the last over 10 years now so if I can go back to it, I’ll always be happy to. I love my Star Trek family so we’ll see how it goes.”
Star Trek Beyond grossed $343.4 million worldwide against a $185 million production budget, illustrating that widespread interest in the property had greatly diminished since 2009. Reports indicated Paramount actually lost money on Beyond, so it isn't surprising they're no longer moving forward with Star Trek 4. The studio is currently banking on projects like the recently-announced twin Mission: Impossible sequels and A Quiet Place 2 to be their big tentpoles over the next few years, which seems like a smart investment. Mission: Impossible has only gotten stronger the longer it runs, with last summer's Fallout tallying a series best $791.1 million worldwide. A Quiet Place was made for $17 million and grossed $340.9 million globally. Both of those brands are more commercially viable than Star Trek now.
Of course, given Star Trek's enduring popularity and fan base, it likely won't sit on the shelf forever. The trick will be not only keeping costs in check, but also finding an angle to help the next film stand out. It's clear that the rise of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the return of Star Wars were two contributing factors to Star Trek's demise, so Paramount has to figure out a way to think outside-the-box and hang with the competition. Maybe Quentin Tarantino's Star Trek movie (which may feature the Kelvin Timeline cast) will be the shot in the arm the franchise needs to live long and prosper into the next decade. Depending on how that project shapes up, Quinto may get his wish granted.