Star Trek 4 has officially been scrapped. This shouldn’t be all that surprising considering Giant Freakin Robot’s own Liana Keane broke this rumor a few weeks ago, but now writer/director Noah Hawley has made things official that it was all but over for Star Trek 4 and movies in that iteration of the franchise going forward.
Noah Hawley spoke with Deadline and diplomatically said, “It doesn’t appear to be in my immediate future.” From what Hawley says, it sounds like the powers-that-be weren’t on board with his take on the material. “I think when [Paramount Pictures President Emma Watts] came in, she took a look at the franchise and wanted to go in a different direction with it.”
At the time, Star Trek fans, hoping to get a fourth film in the rebooted (and rather ongoing) franchise still had a glimmer of hope that we’d be taking flight into the cosmos with the crew. It looks like those plans have all been put on the backburner.
In the interview, Hawley, who is the showrunner for FX’s award-winning series Fargo, cited a number of different reasons for the movie getting coffined. For starters, he mentions that the current Paramount regime had conflicting visions around how to take the franchise going forward. He added that COVID-related pandemic closings and regulations, specifically regarding movie theaters, would hamper efforts to make a movie with the scope and budget of Star Trek 4 profitable. These were just a number of different reasons the movie would be no more.
Star Trek 4 would have followed 2009’s Star Trek which rebooted the franchise with Chris Pine at the helm of the ship and J.J. Abrams in the director’s chair. It was followed by Star Trek into Darkness and Star Trek Beyond. The three movies cost the studio about $525 million while making back *only* about 1.2 billion in box office sales.
While the latter number sounds like a lot, a simple doubling of production costs at the box office simply isn’t a formula most major studios are looking for these days with movies of this scope. If fewer folks were going to theaters, it’s unlikely the latest movie could have hit anywhere close to its necessary financial markers. When it’s all said and done (as it often is), money probably told the story about how willing Paramount was to get going with Star Trek 4.
This recent news is a shame considering just how much Star Trek remains in our lives right now. Star Trek: Discovery debuted well on CBS All-Access though it did end up tanking some ratings when it moved to the actual network in the fall. That could be because core audiences had already watched it on the streaming service which did debut to significant download and streaming numbers to start. But the broader release may have been a hit to the brand, Star Trek 4, specifically.
CBS All-Access also is developing Star Trek: Strange New Worlds which will feature Captain Christopher Pike finally carrying his own show. That show is currently in production and is slated to start filming in February 2021.
Hawley wouldn’t totally rule out Star Trek 4 one day hitting screens, but for now, it’s likely just a pipe dream. There are simply too many hurdles to clear with big-budget blockbusters these days and if the studio doesn’t have a resounding appetite the flick isn’t going to get made. That’s the case with this latest film and it looks now like the Star Trek reboot will remain a trilogy.