Two Kirks seem to be keeping the Enterprise docked for a bit. Both Chris Pine and Chris Hemsworth have reportedly stopped contract negotiations to appear in Star Trek 4.
The Hollywood Reporter had the scoop. The report states that the actors, who play James and George Kirk respectively, “insist they have deals in place and that the studios are reneging on them, forcing them to take pay cuts as they try to budget a movie that is following a mediocre performer.” However, deals with other actors like Zoe Saldana and Zachary Quinto are expected to close; the film is still “a priority development” and isn’t being put on hold.
So what does that all mean? Well, when a fourth Trek film was announced in 2016, Pine, at least, had a tentative deal in place. However, since then, Paramount changed some of its executive leadership. Those execs are now saying, in light of the tepid performance of Star Trek Beyond, they need to dial back the budget on this film and would like to pay the actors less than they were initially promised or usually get. That’s a tough position to take, considering both Pine and Hemsworth have continued to build their considerable stardom since 2016, with Pine releasing Wonder Woman and Hemsworth doing Thor: Ragnarok and Avengers: Infinity War.
What happens if neither Captain Kirk, or his father—who reportedly is a major player in this fourth film—come back? So far, there’s no telling. “The project could recast Kirk and his father. Or perhaps the two sides could come back to the table,” the Hollywood Reporter said.
We tend to believe it’ll be the latter. Often, stopping contract negotiations and leaking information to the press about it is just a negotiation tactic. It puts pressure on the studio as fans go apeshit that two key actors may not return to the film. That’s probably what’s happening here—but we’ll have to wait and see.
Star Trek 4 is scheduled to be directed by S.J. Clarkson from a script by J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay. It doesn’t have a release date.
Correction: A previous version of this story stated that both Pine and Hemsworth may have had deals since 2016 but now it’s only believed Pine did. We have edited as such.