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Even before Star Trek Beyond, the third film in the current franchise was released, it seemed a foregone conclusion at the time that we would get a fourth film in that series. J.J. Abrams already had an idea that would bring Chris Hemsworth back into the story, and everybody seemed on board with the plan. However, Star Trek Beyond, while not a complete flop by any stretch, wasn't a smash hit either, and that largely spun the entire franchise into a world of chaos and confusion. There have been a number of reports on where Star Trek could be going on the big screen, but the original concept seemed largely dead at this point. Except, maybe not?
Emma Watts, who left 20th Century Fox following the acquisition of the company by Disney, is now the president of Paramount's motion picture group and according to a new report, her number one priority in that role is to figure out exactly what to do with the Star Trek franchise. Of the available options, which, according to Deadline are still possibilities, are the most recent script, written by Legion's Noah Hawley, as well as the ever-elusive Quentin Tarantino project, and even the Chris Pine/Chris Hemsworth project that had been set to be directed by S.J. Clarkson.
Noah Hawley was brought in last year to work up a new idea for a Star Trek movie, and if nothing else he was excited by it, as he's clearly a fan of the franchise. And while it doesn't appear that film was ready to hit the ground running, it seems that the project has hit the pause button, so it is no more likely of going ahead than any of the other ideas that came before it.
While it seems from the report that bringing back the Star Trek reboot cast is the least likely of the three options, it appears that the idea is still at least a possibility. The other two ideas are set to be "spinoff" concepts that would include new casts of characters. The project written by Mark L. Smith for Quentin Tarantino is still a real concept, though at this point it appears somebody other than Tarantino would actually direct it if it were to happen.
The main reason that the original plan for Star Trek 4 faded away was that, after the less than glowing performance of Star Trek Beyond, there was a desire from the studio to make any future film less expensive to produce. This was a problem because, after three movies, and with the size of the cast, salaries alone were going to be a significant part of the budget. Chris Pine and Chris Hemsworth were reportedly asked to take pay cuts to help make the budget work but that didn't go anywhere. Hemsworth made it clear he wasn't entirely sold on the idea, and thus, likely wasn't willing to take a cut on a project he wasn't in love with.
With Star Trek still be incredibly popular in an absolute sense, with multiple popular series, it seems certain that a new movie will come sooner or later, but at this point it's anybody's guess what that will look like.