Despite rumors of a development hiatus, Karl Urban (aka Dr. Leonard McCoy) told fans that he’s confident Star Trek 4 will still happen. The project has been stuck in limbo following reports that Chris Pine and Chris Hemsworth may not return for the fourth installment due to contract disputes.
The alternate-universe film series has resulted in three blockbuster features thus far, bringing greater notoriety to its lead cast, including Pine, Zachary Quinto, and Zoe Saldana, among several others. Although the third installment, Star Trek Beyond, resulted in lower box office returns than its predecessors, it ended with revitalized potential for the series, with a new Enterprise being built. Since the first film in 2009, Pine and Hemsworth, the onscreen Kirk junior and senior, respectively, have had massive action and fantasy box office successes with other series, such as Wonder Woman and Thor. Concerns about their affordability and availability have, therefore, been alarming.
Nevertheless, speaking during a panel at Trekonderoga (via Trek Movie), Karl Urban said that he’s confident Star Trek 4 will still happen, despite the ongoing contract issues. He attributed the delay to ordinary actor/studio salary negotiations and even opened up about the possibility of multiple sequels:
“Hopefully, we get back for another movie, or two of them. We are just sort of waiting on negotiations. I’m confident we will.”
Urban went on confirm a script has been put together and that S.J. Clarkson (Jessica Jones, The Defenders) is directing the film. Shooting is planned to take place in the U.K., where Clarkson is based. This would make this the first Star Trek film to be shot in England, meaning it may happen at the legendary Pinewood studios, where the Disney Star Wars films have been developed. Urban nodded to J.J Abrams finishing Star Wars: Episode IX (or, has he put it, “that other space franchise“) in the same location. Abrams directed the first two installments – Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness – and has since remained with the series as a producer.
While the Star Trek films haven’t amassed the controversy that Star Wars: The Last Jedi raised among Star Wars fans, both series have gone on for decades, and franchise fatigue is a growing concern. CBS’ Star Trek: Discovery, which is going into its second season has received widespread acclaim, both for its lead, Sonequa Martin-Green, and for taking newly-explored avenues through the prequel universe. Moreover, the announcement of Patrick Stewart’s return as Captain Picard certainly excited Next Generation fans. But, as beloved as theses series and characters are, and as much success as they are achieving by going in their own respective directions, the question stands: how much is too much?
While Hemsworth’s fate in the first film is integral to this movie franchise’s story unfolding, both he and Jennifer Morrison, who played James Kirk’s mother, haven’t been seen since. With Avengers 4 wrapping production, and Morrison’s Once Upon A Time officially done, a Kirk family reunion could, in theory, make for some wholesome, warmhearted adventure. Morrison has expressed interest in returning, although nothing has been announced. What is certain is that a Star Trek 4 without Pine’s Kirk couldn’t possibly be met without some backlash.