Warp Factor Trek

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After several apparent false starts, it appears that the long-gestating sequel to 2016’s Star Trek Beyond is finally gaining traction and “getting close to the starting line,” according to Paramount chief Brian Robbins.

The film was initially shelved in 2018, after negotiations fell through for two stars – Chris Pine and Chris Hemsworth. This particular story would have involved the Kelvin Timeline Kirk (Pine) meeting his father, George (Hemsworth), for the first time.

The film also gained traction in 2019 and 2020, when Noah Hawley – creator of the television version of the 1996 film Fargo – was hired to write a brand new script for a sequel. It was scrapped just as the film was about to enter pre-production.

There was also a sequel film idea that would have been directed by Quentin Tarantino and, in the US, would have been the first Star Trek film rated R by the MPA. That project ended with Tarantino revealing that he probably wouldn’t be directing it.

On 15 February of this year, Paramount – with JJ Abrams – announced that the next film in the franchise will star the cast of the most recent three films in the series.  

“We are thrilled to say that we are hard at work on a new Star Trek film that will be shooting by the end of the year that will be featuring our original cast and some new characters that I think are going to be really fun and exciting and help take Star Trek into areas that you’ve just never seen before,” Abrams said, at an Investor Day event that took place that day. “We’re thrilled about this film, we have a bunch of other stories that we’re talking about that we think will be really exciting, so can’t wait for you to see what we’re cooking up. But until then, live long and prosper.

Since there has been a lengthy gap between the Star Trek films after Beyond, Paramount sought to do market research to determine if the cast of the last three installments still had market viability, which found it still did, despite Beyond having underperformed at the box office in July 2016 – which was a bright spot in Paramount’s overall offerings for that year despite making less than the previous two films in the series. Recently, the head of Paramount, Brian Robbins, stated, “I’m a research nerd, and what the data tells me is that the audience wants that cast in this movie.

Now begins the task of reuniting the main cast of the past three films. They will sadly be without Anton Yelchin (Pavel Chekov), who tragically passed away on 19 June 2016, roughly a month before Beyond hit movie theaters. JJ Abrams, who will be producing the forthcoming movie with his production company Bad Robot Productions, stated later that year that the role of Chekov will not be recast. However, the announcement that the Kelvin cast will be returning for a fourth film has surprised the surviving cast members.

Many of those cast members, despite the surprise, have expressed excitement about returning to the starship Enterprise. Zoë Saldana (Uhura) told Entertainment Tonight, “We’re excited. Obviously, it’s bittersweet because we are coming together for a fourth time and one of us is no longer with us… with Anton’s passing. But we honestly feel that going back and keeping the Star Trek family together is a way to really keep him alive in our thoughts and our hearts, because he was such a fan, and he was such a devoted artist to the craft and also to Star Trek. So, it would be great to go back to work and get to be together again.” Similar comments have been stated by Chris Pine, who also emphasized that they are awaiting a script from Paramount. Pine told Extra, “I would like Captain Kirk to stay in Los Angeles, and to shoot in Los Angeles. So, tax incentive, we’re looking at you, and we want to shoot here. So, make it happen, because all of Hollywood is leaving and going to England, and we want it back here. And I love England, but we want it back here.

The first two films in the Kelvin Timeline film series – as with all ten of the Prime Timeline films before those – were filmed in Los Angeles. Star Trek Beyond was filmed in Vancouver, British Columbia. One cast member who may have a problem with joining the crew in Los Angeles is Karl Urban, who plays Leonard “Bones” McCoy. Urban currently stars as Billy Butcher in the Amazon Prime Video series The Boys. Season 3 of that series is airing now on Amazon Prime; a fourth season could potentially be in the cards, as he stated, “I’m shooting The Boys through the end of the year. So, I literally don’t know. I would love to work with those guys again. They are so much fun. The best hang. We’ll see.” If the fourteenth Star Trek movie is filmed in Canada like its immediate predecessor Beyond was, it may prove to be more feasible for Karl Urban to reprise his role in the upcoming film, as The Boys is filmed in Toronto, the same city as Star Trek: Discovery.

What does the future hold for the Star Trek film series after this movie comes out? Only Paramount head Brian Robbins knows the answer.

Going forward, I’m focused on our franchises. We are fortunate in that we have amazing franchises, which we need to lean into. We have adult franchises like Mission: Impossible, A Quiet Place, Transformers and Star Trek. And we have family franchises with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and SpongeBob. You’ve got to have multi-year plans for these franchises. You can’t just make a movie, see how it does and then decide to make another one, because if you do that, it will be years between sequels.

The currently untitled fourteenth Star Trek film is set for release on 22 December 2023. Stay tuned to WarpFactorTrek for updates.

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