Red Alert! Captain to the bridge!
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Chrises Pine and Hemsworth have walked away from negotiations to star in the fourth rebooted Star Trek feature. Announced shortly after the release of Star Trek Beyond, the film was to see Hemsworth reprise his role as Captain Kirk’s father George from the 2009 Star Trek. Pine, of course, played James Tiberius Kirk in the 2009 film and its subsequent sequels.
Sources tell the site the actors had deals in place for the fourth film when Hemsworth’s participation was announced in 2015, but with Star Trek Beyond‘s less-than-stellar performance, the studio is trying to cut costs — starting with the fees the Marvel and DC film stars can command. Seeing this as an attempt to back out of their 2015 deals, the two actors and their teams walked away from negotiations with Paramount Pictures and co-producer Skydance Media.
For the moment, walking away is a negotiation tactic with the Chrises trying to prove they are more important to the future of feature film Star Trek than the studio believes. From the studio perspective, they have a few options which may not thrill fans of the Chrises or Star Trek‘s Kelvin timeline.
One option would be to shelve the intended plot of Star Trek 4, in which George and Jim Kirk meet thanks to time travel, in favor of a new story featuring a new commanding officer. The notion of Star Trek continuing without Captain Kirk first emerged in the 1970s when creator Gene Roddenberry was developing Star Trek: Phase II for Paramount Television. Believing William Shatner would only be interested in returning for 13 episodes, Roddenberry created Captain Willard Decker as Kirk’s new first officer. Demoted to commander in the Phase II pilot, he was intended to take over the Enterprise‘s center seat once Shatner tired of the role. The Decker character could be used as a replacement commander with, perhaps, Chris Evans or Chris Pratt playing the part. At the very least, Star Trek already contains a contingency plan for the loss of the actor playing Captain Kirk.
Another option is to scrap the film, to be directed by Jessica Jones veteran S. J. Clarkson, in favor of the Star Trek project being developed by Quentin Tarantino. A third option would be to recast the Kirks.
None seem appealing to a Trek fan, and maybe that is what will bring the actors and the studio into an amicable accord.