Chris Pine is willing to return for Star Trek 4, but he's frustrated over the troubled development.
It seems as if Star Trek 4 is still stuck in development hell, as the ongoing search for a suitable (and available) director continues, according to Variety. Not only is this a frustrating turn of events for Star Trek fans, but also a sore spot for Chris Pine, who feels that the franchise is “cursed.” In regard to his portrayal of Captain Kirk of the USS Enterprise, Pine has stated that being left in the dark about the production of Star Trek 4 has left him frustrated and uncertain about his future with the franchise.
Though we were originally expecting a release date of December 22, 2023, Paramount announced last September that the film would be removed from its release calendar as the film needs to go through several phases of development before starting production. While we’re all excited about seeing Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto come back as Captain Kirk and Spock in Star Trek 4, both actors have gone on record stating that they don’t know what the plan is for the film. Pine expressed further frustration over the fact that the cast always seems left in the dark until they sign on to participate in the films.
Elaborating on this sentiment, Pine has stated that he’s always kept out of the loop about the Star Trek franchise, and this includes Star Trek 4. He even went on to state that he knows that sometimes costume designers have access to the scripts before the actors do. In fact, Zachary Quinto and Zoe Saldana have also gone on record stating that they had no idea that Star Trek 4 was still in development after Abrams announced that the new Trek movie would feature its original cast from the reboot trilogy that began with 2009’s Star Trek.
It’s also worth noting that at this point in time, we’ve seen a revolving door of directors enter and exit the project, including Quentin Tarantino, S.J. Clarkson, Noah Hawley, and Matt Shakman. Though all have been enthusiastic about the project, they ultimately had other commitments that needed to be fulfilled. Though scheduling conflicts are to be expected for a production this big, the stars certainly need to align if we want to see Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, and Chis Hemsworth, make an appearance in Star Trek 4.
In other words, once the script is fully finessed, a director takes on the project, and production becomes imminent, who’s to say that Chris Pine won’t be busy with other projects at that point in his career, and unavailable to star in Star Trek 4? The hardest part about waiting for a role to be finally ready for production is that when everything finally falls into place, the talent needed to carry the story along may have already gotten tired of waiting or find themselves busy with other projects.
Though franchise producer, J.J. Abrams, has gone on record stating that the Star Trek 4 script is in a good place, we don’t have the luxury of getting Chris Pine to weigh in with his own insight on the project because most aspects of development have been under wraps.
Though Chris Pine is frustrated with the development of Star Trek 4, he’s not as bitter about how things have shaken out as it may seem. He’s expressed his love for portraying Captain Kirk, the people he works with, and the franchise itself, in other words, his grievances have more to do with the systemic issues in putting together a big-budget film and all of the Hollywood politics that come along with it. So while it may seem that Chris Pine has thrown his hands up with resignation over Star Trek 4, it doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s bowing out entirely.
Another issue that needs to be addressed is the overall earnings of 2016’s Star Trek Beyond, the last installment of the Star Trek Kelvin Timeline movies. Though $344 million at the box office is absolutely nothing to scoff at, the massive success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and other mega-franchises have shifted the goalpost in regard to what is considered a successful film in many ways. Chris Pine has weighed in on how films like Star Trek 4 shouldn’t be trying to compete with other properties.
If a film makes back its budget at the box office, and then some, then many would consider it to be a success. But since everybody wanted to see Star Trek Beyond pull in at least a billion dollars, it is viewed as a failure in a way. In a recent interview with Esquire that lightly touches on the subject of Star Trek 4, Chris Pine raised the question “Why aren’t we just appealing to this really rabid fan group and making the movie for a good price and going on our merry way, instead of trying to compete with the Marvels of the world?”
And he’s not wrong to ask this question. In recent months, it’s been revealed through polling of our own that Star Trek is neck and neck with Star Wars regarding overall popularity. So why not lean into this?
Though Chris Pine has had an on-again, off-again with the possibility of starring in Star Trek 4 over the last several years, we’re still holding out hope that everything will fall into its right place and we’ll be able to continue the saga where 2016’s Star Trek Beyond left off. But for now, we wait.