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Justin Lin's Star Trek Beyond doesn't arrive in theaters until Friday, but Paramount Pictures isn't waiting to see box office returns before making sequel announcements. The studio, in conjunction with Skydance and Bad Robot, has announced that an untitled Star Trek 4 is now in development, and have even revealed a quick synopsis of what the movie will be about:
In the next installment of the epic space adventure, Chris Pine's Captain Kirk will cross paths with a man he never had a chance to meet, but whose legacy has haunted him since the day he was born: his father.
In case the official wording from the press release isn't clear, Star Trek 4 will feature the return of Chris Hemsworth as George Kirk -- James T. Kirk's father. The character is an extremely important one in what's been officially dubbed "the Kelvin Timeline," as his fate is basically what separates the continuity featured in the rebooted movies from what was established in the first 43 years of Star Trek's existence. As seen in the opening of J.J. Abrams' 2009 movie, George Kirk was killed by a time traveling Nero (Eric Bana) on the day of his youngest son's birth, leaving the future Enterprise captain to have a much different experience growing up than the version played by William Shatner. It seems that the next sequel will have Chris Pine's take on Kirk face those issues head-on -- probably with some time travel involved.
The official press release doesn't mention who will be taking the helm of Star Trek 4 (meaning we don't know what the future holds for Star Trek Beyond director Justin Lin in the franchise), but we do know who will be taking care of the script. Paramount, Skydance and Bad Robot have given that task to J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay -- which is news that may actually surprise some Star Trek fans. This is because Payne and McKay were previously hired to write the script for Star Trek Beyond back when it was simply known as Star Trek 3, and were ultimately replaced by Simon Pegg and Doug Jung (who started completely from scratch). Just because their ideas didn't work for the third Star Trek movie, however, doesn't mean that the studios didn't like what they were doing in general, which could explain why they have once again been tasked with sequel writing duty.
It's noted that the franchise's main cast members -- including Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, John Cho, Karl Urban and Simon Pegg -- are all "expected to return," but it doesn't sound like anything's official. That's pretty much where the details end as well, as the press release doesn't make mention of when the blockbuster is being targeted for release. Given that it took four years for Star Trek Into Darkness to be made after Star Trek, and three years for Star Trek Beyond to be made after Star Trek Into Darkness, the safe bet is that we will see the next chapter in 2019 or 2020.
Do you like the idea of Star Trek 4 bringing back Chris Hemsworth as George Kirk? Hit the comments section below with your thoughts, stay tuned for more updates about the project, and check out Star Trek Beyond in theaters this Friday.