The fourth installment in the J.J. Abrams “Star Trek” film franchise has been stuck in development limbo for almost five years now. Over the past few years, there have been several times when it looked like the film would finally make it to production. However, it hasn’t happened yet.
In the past few months, there have finally been a few promising updates about “Star Trek 4.” Here’s the latest.
Early 2021 Announcements
Four months ago, Paramount announced that veteran sci-fi writer Kalinda Vazquez had been tapped to write a new “Star Trek” movie. In the same announcement, Paramount confirmed that the film would be produced by Abrams’ production company Bad Robot.
Three months ago, Paramount announced that an untitled “Star Trek” movie will release in June of 2023. However, the announcement did not make it clear whether this new movie was the previously announced Abrams/Vazquez project.
Director Announced… and It’s Not Abrams
On June 13, 2021, Deadline reported that Paramount had enlisted Matt Shakman to direct the 2023 “Star Trek” movie, which is being produced by Bad Robot. Shakman is best known for directing the hit Marvel show, WandaVision.
Shakman’s credits also include “Game of Thrones,” “The Good Wife,” “House,” “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” and several other popular television shows. He made his feature film debut in 2014 with the movie “Cut Bank.”
Abrams directed two out of the three “Star Trek” films produced by Bad Robot, “Star Trek” and “Star Trek: Into Darkness.” Justin Lin directed the third movie in the franchise, “Star Trek: Beyond.” None of the recent reports have indicated that Abrams would be directing a new “Star Trek” project. However, he’s been named as the producer for all of the projects announced in 2021.
Deadline reported that the 2023 “Star Trek” movie will head into production in the spring of 2022.
Writers Announced… and They’re Not Vazquez
In the same article, Deadline reported that the new “Star Trek” film would be penned by Lindsey Beer and Geneva Robertson-Dworet, not Kalinda Vazquez. A report from Variety stated that the Vazquez project is completely separate from the untitled “Star Trek” script that Beer and Robertson-Dworet have written.
Robertson-Dworet is also a relative newcomer, but she’s proven herself with her limited credits. She penned the screenplays for the new “Tomb Raider” movie and Marvel’s wildly successful “Captain Marvel.”
Is The Shakman/Beer/Robertson-Dworet Project ‘Star Trek 4’?
The answer really depends on what fans mean when they say “Star Trek 4.” There have been so many “Star Trek” film projects over the years that it’s really difficult to define “Star Trek 4.”
If “Star Trek 4” refers to the fourth “Star Trek” movie produced by Abrams, then the Vazquez project or the Shakman/Beer/Robertson-Dworet project could be “Star Trek 4.” It just depends on which one releases first as both projects are being produced by Abrams.
If “Star Trek 4” refers to the continuation of the Kelvin Timeline and the story of the crew headed by Chris Pine’s Kirk, then nothing is certain yet.
Four different “Star Trek” movie projects have been in development in the past five years — Quentin Tarantino’s project, Noah Hawley’s project, Kalinda Vazquez’s project, and the 2023 “Star Trek” movie. So far, none of those projects confirmed that they would be returning to the Kelvin Timeline and its actors. In fact, both Hawley and Tarantino stated that they wanted to head in new directions with their “Star Trek” projects. Reports have not been clear about whether Vazquez intends to use the Kelvin cast.
Justin Kroll, Deadline’s senior film reporter, tweeted that he’s hearing rumors that the Shakman/Beer/Robertson-Dworet project plans to use the Kelvin cast. If that turns out to be true, the 2023 “Star Trek” project will likely be the “Star Trek 4” movie the fans have been waiting for.
So, it seems like there are two distinct “Star Trek” movie projects in the works. One will hopefully be the long-awaited “Star Trek 4,” and one is still a mystery.
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