Finally Upgrading the ‘Star Trek’ Movies to 4K

Fans are eager to see the films starring Patrick Stewart and William Shatner remastered and presented in 4K.

Getty Fans are eager to see the films starring Patrick Stewart and William Shatner remastered and presented in 4K.

The next big step forward in home entertainment is 4K. This number basically means that the film or television show in 4K is seen twice the resolution as HD. This is known as “Ultra High-Definition” and is available on some streaming platforms like Amazon Prime or Netflix. The 4K experience offers crisper images, better blacks and whites, and improved color overall. 4K is to Blu-ray as Blu-ray was to standard definition DVDs — a massive upgrade.

Right now, if a fan of “Star Trek” wanted to enjoy their favorite franchise in 4K, they would be limited to watching the Kelvin timeline movies — “Star Trek (2009),” “Into Darkness,” and “Beyond.” All of these titles were released on 4K Ultra High-Def discs in 2016

There is much discussion about this online in forums, with most saying that they’d likely purchase the entire 10-film collection of Trek films if they became available on 4K. There are even Twitter accounts that are dedicated to urging Paramount to make these films available for purchase. 

An Expert Is ‘Confident’ the ‘Star Trek’ Films Will Be Released in 4K

4K UHD TV vs. 1080p HDTV – Side by Side ComparisonSome say Ultra HD 4K TVs are stupid, and they back up those claims with science-based assertions, claiming the human you can’t see the difference between Ultra HD and standard 1080P HD unless you’re nose is pressed against the screen. But on the other side of the divide, some are saying they’ve looked at Ultra…2014-10-31T21:11:37Z

It turns out that Paramount is “well aware” of the desire of fans to get their favorite Trek titles upgraded to 4K. Thanks to an interview by Trek Report with industry expert Bill Hunt, fans can breathe a bit easier.

Hunt is the editor in chief of The Digital Bits, the go-to site for all things Blu-ray and 4K. Hunt and his team review and report on all the latest happenings in the world of physical media. Started in 1997, The Digital Bits is a trusted source of information for folks who want to know more about movies and shows on disc.

Hunt told Trek Report that he has been consulting with Paramount for some time and has been “giving the studio advice on how to handle and release specific 4K titles.”

“Paramount is a studio that has been working steadily to put out their classic films, and they’ve been putting them out steadily,” Hunt said in the interview. “Sometimes if they don’t know if a film was going to be a big seller in 4K, they will put it out digitally first, and then they’ll come out with a disc.”

Hunt said that Paramount did this exact thing with the 4K release of “Beverly Hills Cop.” Recently, Paramount announced a release of the four Indiana Jones films in 4K. Hunt said that he is “confident” that fans will be able to buy the “Star Trek” films in 4K eventually.

Buy ‘Wrath’ in 4K — but Only as a Download

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan – Director's Cut – TrailerIt is the 23rd century. The Federation Starship U.S.S. Enterprise™ is on routine training maneuvers and Admiral James T. Kirk (William Shatner) seems resigned to the fact that this inspection may well be the last space mission of his career. But Khan is back. Aided by his exiled band of genetic supermen, Khan (Ricardo Montalban)…2016-07-18T23:39:00Z

The studio already has a remastered version of “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan – Director’s Cut” available for purchase as a digital download from providers like iTunes. Hunt said that the hard work of upgrading “Wrath” is already done, Paramount won’t put out just one Trek film on 4K.

“The reason they didn’t put it out on disc is because Paramount is well aware that the moment they did that, everyone would say, ‘well, now I want all of them,’” Hunt said in the interview. “And I’ve even told them that.”

Only Kelvin in 4K — for Now

Vengeance VS Enterprise (4K) Star TrekVengeance VS Enterprise (4K) Star Trek2020-07-12T12:36:29Z

Hunt also told Trek Report that “The Motion Picture” is a project which will be very costly to undertake and must be done before the 10 films can be released in 4K.

“It’s a big number, not as substantial as many people think it would be, and they basically have to work up the courage to do it,” Hunt said in the interview. “That one [TMP] is complicated. Because you really have to redo the visual effects to get it right, and they are talking to the people who did that work originally who’ve said, ‘yeah, we can do it.’ They sat down and worked out what the budget would be.”

Hunt is confident that the 10 original Trek films will be released eventually on 4K and that fans will be able to buy them. According to Hunt, it is unknown just how long the fans will have to wait for the films to be available. 

“I’m confident that they are going to get to all of those ‘Star Trek’ films to being properly remastered in 4K,” Hunt told Trek Report. “I just don’t know how soon it’s going to happen.”

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