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Report says that Star Trek 4 has been 'shelved'

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Jan 8, 2019, 4:17 PM EST

Buried within a report today on the upcoming Game of Thrones prequel series was what appeared to be some rather disappointing news for Star Trek fans.

As revealed by Deadline, director S.J. Clarkson has been tapped to get behind the camera for HBO's highly anticipated look at Westeros' distant past, The Long Night. When we last heard about Clarkson — whose substantial list of TV credits includes episodes of The Defenders, Jessica Jones, Bates Motel and others — she had made franchise history in April by becoming the first woman ever hired to direct a Star Trek feature film.

Which brings us back to today's news. Stuck down at the bottom of the second paragraph in Deadline's item on The Long Night was this bombshell: "Earlier this year, Clarkson was the first female director to be tapped to direct a Star Trek movie when she was hired to helm the fourth feature in the current series. That project has since been shelved."

Shelved? As in canceled? There's no further elaboration, but for Trek fans, this is a major development that has been quietly slipped out there. So what exactly has happened?

Reps for Paramount Studios, owner of the Trek franchise, had no comment when SYFY WIRE inquired. But if you go back to August — after the initial buzz about Clarkson had died down — it was reported that both Chris Pine, who plays Captain James T. Kirk in the current string of films, and Chris Hemsworth, who was somehow returning as Kirk's father George after dying in the 2009 Star Trek's prologue sequence, were walking away from the negotiating table after contract talks for the fourth film had stalled.

The issue seemed to be that Paramount, spooked by the less than thrilling box-office results for 2016's Star Trek Beyond, was looking to keep costs on Star Trek 4 down — and had asked its two biggest stars to take pay cuts.

We don't want to speculate too much without any official confirmation, but from the outside it would appear that the impasse between the actors and the studio has taken Star Trek 4's warp engines offline. In fact, at this point in time it would seem like Star Trek's future on the big screen — both with the existing series of films and Quentin Tarantino's rumored take on the mythology — is so cloudy that not even the Guardian of Forever could predict it.

In the meantime, there is still lots of Trek to watch at home. Star Trek: Discovery is just kicking off its second season, Captain Jean-Luc Picard is returning in a new show, there are two animated projects in the works and more short pieces as well. We remain hopeful that Star Trek will find its way back to movie theaters eventually, but while we wait, there are plenty of new places to boldly go for your Trek fix.