Bond, Guardians of the Galaxy, Star Trek, many of Hollywood's biggest franchises have been in a bit of turmoil of late. With regards to Star Trek, the fourth film in the rebooted franchise hit a snag when Chris Pine and Chris Hemsworth exited talks to star in the film over pay cuts. Hemsworth would have returned to the franchise as George Kirk following his brief time in the role in 2009's Star Trek. But Chris Pine is the lead of the franchise as Kirk, and there are questions of whether or not a Star Trek 4 can even happen or work without him. As for film producer Adi Shankar, he thinks that the lack of Chris Pine could be a good thing, as he explained:
Losing Pine and Kirk is not a big deal and kind of cool. Actors don't matter, stories do. This is the universe presenting an opportunity to do something different and boldly go where no suits have gone before.
So Adi Shankar agrees with CinemaBlend's Dirk Libbey that Star Trek 4 doesn't need Chris Pine. Although many fans and actors might have issue with Adi Shankar's hot take here, he makes an interesting point. Based on his comments to Screen Rant, Adi Shankar seems to see losing Chris Pine as something of a blessing in disguise for Star Trek 4. If the actor does not return, that forces them to come up with a new story that is different and possibly more fresh and daring than otherwise possible. He believes that the main thing that matters is the story, and technically a Star Trek 4 story can be created that does not need Chris Pine or his Captain Kirk.
In this day and age there is an argument to be made that stars don't matter, at least not as much as they used to. So Adi Shankar makes a good point in that regard, the large majority of audiences probably see a Star Trek movie first because it is a Star Trek movie, and second because of the specific actors involved. Despite that, a Star Trek 4 without Chris Pine means no Kirk and characters do matter to a franchise, especially when they are the main ones.
There have been plenty of Star Trek movies and series without James T. Kirk before, so obviously there is precedent set. This isn't Harry Potter without the title character. But removing Captain Kirk from the middle of the Kelvin timeline would be jarring-- especially if the rest of the cast returns. Star Trek 4 would have to do some legwork and exposition to explain Captain Kirk's absence. This is doable, but its certainly an interesting challenge for a potential filmmaker. Obviously the expected story involving James Kirk and his father meeting through time travel to be changed. Where the story could go from there is anyone's guess, and that alone is exciting.
This debate may all be for naught, if Chris Pine and Paramount are able to come to terms for the actor to return for Star Trek 4. But if that doesn't happen then the franchise is unquestionably faced with a dilemma. It could forge ahead as Adi Shankar suggests, boldly going where it never has before, or Paramount could simply recast Kirk and hope that the audience accepts it.
Stay tuned to CinemaBlend and we'll keep you updated in what's going on with the Star Trek franchise and Star Trek 4.