A couple of years ago, it was announced that Quentin Tarantino had pitched an R-rated Star Trek movie to Paramount and, even more strangely, the studio had accepted it. They greenlit the film and got Mark L. Smith working on a script. During the promotional rounds for his new movie Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Tarantino has been shedding some light on the plans for his Star Trek movie, including the confirmation that it will take place in “the Chris Pine timeline.”
This timeline is known to Trekkies as “the Kelvin Timeline,” since that’s the name that J.J. Abrams gave it. Here are 5 Kelvin Timeline actors we hope reprise their roles in Quentin Tarantino’s R-Rated Star Trek movie (and 5 we don't).
10 Don’t want to see: Chris Hemsworth as George Kirk
After the release of Star Trek Beyond and before Quentin Tarantino’s R-rated pitch, it was announced that Chris Hemsworth would reprise his role as George Kirk, James T. Kirk’s deceased father (who he played in a flashback sequence at the beginning of the first reboot movie when he was completely unknown), in a fourth film.
However, this just seems to have been decided based on the fact that Hemsworth is a big star now and not based on an actual need for the story. Plus, bringing back Kirk’s father or saving his life in the past somehow would detract from the emotion of the younger Kirk’s character arc.
9 Want to see: Zoe Saldana as Uhura
Zoe Saldana has always brought ingenuity and gravitas to roles in sci-fi blockbusters that she could’ve easily phoned in. She has made Gamora one of the most emotionally complex characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and she also got into the humanity of Avatar’s Neytiri, despite having a newly made-up word in almost every line of dialogue.
Her performance as Uhura in the Star Trek reboot series is no different. Some fans felt that the romantic pairing of Spock and Uhura was controversial, but Saldana has always done a great job of playing those scenes and it’ll be interesting to see where she takes the character with Tarantino at the helm.
8 Don’t want to see: Bruce Greenwood as Christopher Pike
Bruce Greenwood has been playing Christopher Pike as a mentor figure to James T. Kirk throughout the Star Trek reboot series, and to an extent, this has been an interesting dynamic. Pike is Kirk’s predecessor as the captain of the Enterprise and they’re very different characters.
However, this dynamic has been done to death at this point. The most interesting version of the Pike character is after his terrible accident, when he’s left scarred and paralyzed and confined to a futuristic wheelchair – he’s older and more grizzled, not to mention worshipped as a hero by Starfleet – but we haven’t seen that Pike in the Kelvin Timeline.
7 Want to see: Karl Urban as Bones
A lot of the Kelvin Timeline actors provided their own takes on their characters that departed drastically from the originals, but Karl Urban has always nailed Bones’ dry sense of humor while also putting a fresh spin on the role.
And while Urban has confirmed that he doesn’t know much about Tarantino’s Trek movie and he hasn’t read the script, he has voiced his support for it, saying that “Quentin Tarantino doing that film would be phenomenal,” calling the Django Unchained director one of the “most exciting filmmakers that’s currently working,” and adding that Paramount “would be insane not to let him do [a Star Trek movie].” As long as he’s all for it, Tarantino should give him a call!
6 Don’t want to see: John Cho as Sulu
Star Trek Beyond controversially depicted Sulu as gay. It wasn’t controversial because fans rejected a gay character; it was controversial because Sulu has always been portrayed as straight and this was an eye-rolling J.K. Rowling-style retcon. Star Trek has always been an inclusive franchise – it had a racially diverse cast in the ‘60s when that was unheard of – as Gene Roddenberry felt that society would be more accepting of people who were different in an ideal future.
With this in mind, it makes sense to have an LGBTQ character, but it should be a new character, like Jaylah; not an existing character getting retconned based on the sexuality of their original actor.
5 Want to see: Sofia Boutella as Jaylah
New characters aren’t always well-received in Star Trek movies, but Sofia Boutella is one of Hollywood’s most promising new stars and her Star Trek Beyond character Jaylah was readily accepted by the Trekkie community. She was an alien scavenger who came across the Enterprise crew when their ship crash-landed on her planet.
At the end of the movie, after she helped them to fight her old enemy Krall, she was accepted into Starfleet, so the next logical step in her character development would be to see how she copes under a captain’s rule in a bureaucratic organization after years as a lone wolf.
4 Don’t want to see: Simon Pegg as Scotty
The Scotty of the Kelvin Timeline has always been the comic relief, even more so than the original version of the character was, but his kind of comedy appeals to the family audience of the trilogy. It wouldn’t exactly suit a darkly themed R-rated movie. Plus, there’s already beef between Quentin Tarantino and Simon Pegg over what Pegg has been telling the media about the movie, because Tarantino hasn’t told him anything about it and he’s been telling people it won’t be “Pulp Fiction in space” when Tarantino says it actually will be.
This movie could do without that kind of behind-the-scenes disagreement – everyone needs to be on the same page with a movie as obscure and unusual as this.
3 Want to see: Chris Pine as James T. Kirk
It seems likely that we will see Chris Pine reprise his role as James T. Kirk in Quentin Tarantino’s Star Trek movie, since the director has said that it’s set in “the Chris Pine timeline” and also that he believes Pine has nailed the role of Kirk.
And it would be a good thing, too, because Pine is terrific in the role (leaning into the flamboyant performance style and not trying to be a “cool” or “gritty” version), he’s a charismatic leading man, and he won over Trekkies who thought they could only ever see William Shatner as the character and would reject anyone else who tried to tackle it.
2 Don’t want to see: Benedict Cumberbatch as Khan
Since Benedict Cumberbatch’s star power has only continued to rise since the release of Star Trek Into Darkness and his character wasn’t actually killed off at the end of the 2013 sequel – Spock was about to kill him, but Uhura stopped him, so an imprisoned Khan was locked in a cryogenic pod instead – it might be tempting for the studio to push him into the new movie.
However, as great as Cumberbatch is, the character was woefully unpopular in the Trekkie community, especially since the big Khan twist could be see coming from a mile away (John Harrison? Gimme a break...).
1 Want to see: Zachary Quinto as Spock
If Chris Pine is coming back as Kirk, then Zachary Quinto will need to come back as Spock. Not only did the two actors fit the roles like a glove and suit them perfectly (and Quentin Tarantino himself has said as much), their chemistry has anchored the reboot series so far. Star Trek lives and dies based on the relationship of Kirk and Spock, and Pine and
Quinto did a fantastic job of showing that relationship begin at Starfleet Academy and grow across three movies. Quinto also played the dichotomy of the logic from Spock’s Vulcan half and the emotions from his human side as well as even Leonard Nimoy.