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SYFY WIRE Star Trek 4

The stars were as blindsided by Paramount's surprise 'Star Trek 4' news as the fans were

Paramount's need to please Wall Street with the sequel news outweighed the needs of the movie's potential cast.

By Phil Pirrello
Startrek Largechrispine

Star Trek 4 finally seems to be happening, which was a legit surprise to most of its cast.

According to The Hollywood Reporter's sources on Tuesday, most of the main cast of the Kelvin timeline films (and their reps) were blindsided by Paramount's Feb. 15 investor day call when Trek 2009 director JJ Abrams announced: “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." 

Out side of Chris Pine, it seems that the franchise's primary cast members — which include Zachary Quinto, Simon Pegg, Karl Urban, Zoe Saldaña and John Cho — were not aware that a Trek 4 announcement was coming, that they would be shooting a film by the end of 2022 to make a December 22, 2023 release, or that they would be touted as part of the deal to sweeten the pot for the company's investors. 

Chris Pine, who plays Captain Kirk, seems to have been the only actor whose team was given an early head's up, reports THR. Pine is obviously seen as the lynchpin to the sequel getting out of spacedock, thanks to the Wonder Woman actor's star profile rising in the years since he first captained the Enterprise. 

THR's insiders caution that Paramount's lack of mindfulness when it came to checking to see if the actors' availability even aligns with their plans to appease stock holders likely photon torpedoed (see what we did there?) any negotiation leverage the studio may have. Positioning tentpole eye candy to court Wall Street favor seems to have been more important than backing that announcement up with more than enthusiastic hope and promise.

According to SYFY WIRE's sources at Paramount, the script for Trek 4 is still in development and no budget has been set. (Also, the movie, which WandaVision's Matt Shankman is expected to direct, has yet to be officially greenlit.)

It's been six years of fits and starts on the development front for a sequel to 2016's Star Trek Beyond, which underwhelmed at the box office with a worldwide gross of $343 million. (The expensive sequel, directed by Fast & Furious helmer Justin Lin, cost a reported $190 million but our sources say that figure actually creeps well up into the $200 million range).

With Trek thriving on television, thanks to the current ambitious programming slate of Paramount+ shows like Star Trek PicardStar Trek: DiscoveryLower Decks, and Prodigy, now is an ideal team for Paramount Pictures to dust off its crown jewel franchise for another voyage to the big screen.

For fans' sake, let's hope the nuTrek crew gets a chance to make good on the studio's promise to boldly go one more time.