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‘LOTR’ Showrunners Tease the ‘Star Trek 4’ Kirk Family Reunion That Never Was

We could have had ALL the Chrises.

Chris Pine and Chris Hemsworth in star trek

For Star Trek fans, any hope of a fourth film in the Kelvin universe franchise seems light years away. After many failed starts, cast departures, and delays, WandaVision‘s Matt Shakman was set to direct the film. Sadly he left the franchise to move on to direct the new Fantastic Four movie, and Paramount has since removed the film from its schedule. We know that Star Trek 4 would have seen Chris Hemsworth return as George Kirk, joining his son James (played by Chris Pine) on a time-traveling adventure. Unfortunately, both Chrises walked away from the film during salary negotiations.

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We learned more details about the scrapped film from its screenwriters J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay. The duo are currently showrunning Amazon’s successful The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power series. During an interview with Esquire, they discussed their plans for the fourth Star Trek film. McKay said, “The one you’re asking about would have been the fourth in the franchise, reuniting Chris Hemsworth and Chris Pine. The conceit was that through a cosmic quirk in the Star Trek world, they were the same age. It was going to be a grand father-son space adventure—think Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade in space. We were really thrilled about it. We had an original villain and a really cool 2001: A Space Odyssey-esque sci-fi idea at the core. We worked on it for two and half years with Lindsey Weber, our non-writing executive producer on Rings of Power, and an amazing director, S.J. Clarkson. The movie eventually fell apart and it really was a heartbreak for us.”

Payne added that the film was inspired by an episode of Star Trek: TNG, saying “There’s an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation called “Relics” where they find Scotty, who’s been trapped a transporter for a couple of decades, and they’re able to have cool adventure with him. Our conceit was, “What if right before the Kelvin impacted with that huge mining ship, George Kirk had tried to beam himself over to his wife’s shuttle where his son, Jim Kirk, had just been born? And what if the ship hadn’t completely exploded—what if it left some space junk?” 

McKay continued, “In the ship, they stumble across his father’s pattern. They beam him out and he has no idea that no time has passed at all, and that he’s looking at his son. Then the adventure goes from there.” While the film never came to be, its cancellation forced the writers to turn their eyes towards television, which was taking bigger risks in the sci-fi/fantasy arena. And their hard work has clearly paid off, as LOTR: Rings of Power is a massive success. Still would have been cool to see that Star Trek film though.

(via Esquire, featured image: Paramount Pictures)

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Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.

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