When Star Trek Beyond hit theaters it won its opening weekend in the box office easily with nearly $60 million amid strong reviews from critics. But strangely enough, it’s the currently untitled fourth film in the reboot series that seems to be dominating a majority of the headlines. The upcoming film doesn’t have a director or release date yet, but it’s been the focus of a lot of chatter and it all points to some interesting things for the fourth Star Trek movie. This is what we know so far.
1. Chris Hemsworth is returning
Paramount recently announced that Chris Hemsworth will return to co-star along with Chris Pine. It’s easy to forget, but Hemsworth portrayed George Kirk in the first film’s opening minutes, sacrificing his life to destroy the Romulan ship Narada. This was actually Hemsworth’s first movie role after appearing in several television series. Only two years later he would star in Thor, quickly becoming one of the biggest stars in Hollywood.
It’s safe to say that Star Trek probably didn’t get their money’s worth of the in-demand actor. This is one of the many likely reasons why Hemsworth is set to return to the series that started his movie career, a move that makes a ton of sense for several reasons. From a story perspective, time travel has consistently been part of the series and the opportunity to explore the relationship between James Kirk and his father, who he has never known, sets up a movie that is sure to have a strong relationship at its core. Additionally, since Star Trek Beyond is being set up to steer the series in new directions, it feels right to start at the beginning again while also moving forward.
2. It’s J.J. Abrams favorite Star Trek story in the series
A movie revolving around James Kirk and his father feels like a recipe for a great Star Trek movie. Producer J.J. Abrams has confirmed that he’s very enthusiastic about the next film, explaining that it’s his “favorite Star Trek story that we’ve had.” But if you want the film to see the light of day, Abrams is encouraging everyone to go check out Star Trek Beyond to make sure a fourth film happens.
“So one of the reasons that I’m hoping [Star Trek Beyond] does well is so that we can, without question, get that movie made,” Abrams told Entertainment Weekly (EW). “It really is an amazing story. It’s really the reason we made the deal with Chris Hemsworth as soon as we could because we really wanted that story to be told, so fingers crossed.”
EW also tried to get some information from Pine, but the actor was either unwilling to talk about the next film or doesn’t have any answers just yet. “I have no idea, I have no idea,” Pine told EW when asked what we can expect from the fourth film. “J.J. hasn’t really told me anything. But I’m looking forward to it, I love Chris, I think he’s fantastically talented. We had a great time on the first one.”
3. It won’t recast Anton Yelchin
The entertainment world experienced a devastating loss in 2016 when actor Anton Yelchin died in an accident at the age of 27. When the shock subsided, there were obviously questions to be answered when it came to Yelchin’s popular role as Pavel Chekov in Star Trek (he appears posthumously in Star Trek Beyond). Would they recast? Would they write out the character? While we don’t have firm answers just yet, Abrams has provided us with the general direction they plan to go in.
“I would say there’s no replacing him. There’s no recasting. I can’t possibly imagine that, and I think Anton deserves better,” Abrams explained to Postmedia Network. When asked whether the character would be killed off within the film, Abrams reiterated that not enough time had passed to really explore the options carefully. “I have thought about it, we’re working on it, and it’s too early to talk about it,” he said.
It sounds like we can definitely rule out recasting, which means we can probably expect either a Paul Walker-esque The Fast and the Furious send-off or a character death written into the next film. But given the industry and Abrams’ respect for Yelchin, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see it fall in line with the former.
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