A new Star Trek movie is in development, though it remains to be seen what direction its story will head. Prior to Noah Hawley's attachment, plans were made to make Star Trek 4, but now there's some speculation Hawley might reboot the movies with an entirely new story. Personally, I'm fine with the latter, though I'd love if Hawley didn't revisit the Kelvin Timeline.
With no disrespect to the last three Star Trek movies, it's time to move on from the idea of Star Trek 4 and the Kelvin Timeline in general. Noah Hawley's time is best spent elsewhere for more reasons than the fact that it has been a bear to get Star Trek 4 rolling.
The Prime Timeline Is Where All The Action Is Right Now
Star Trek currently has Star Trek: Picard and Star Trek: Discovery running in the Prime Timeline, and more shows are on the way. The lore is expanding and new plot threads are being developed, and that's going to be the case for quite a while. Hell, it looks like Alex Kurtzman is positioning Star Trek to be the MCU of this decade, though it remains to be seen if he'll succeed with that.
Then there's the Kelvin Timeline, which hasn't had a movie in close to four years. Granted, long gaps between these movies has been typical, but beyond some comic book entries and an upcoming novel, there's not a lot happening in the Kelvin Timeline. Why pick things back up there, especially when there's so much going on in the Prime Timeline?
Personally, I'd love to see the return of Star Trek movies that are tied to shows, especially now that the likes of Star Trek: Discovery and Star Trek: Picard are back to "boldly going" in uncharted territory in the Prime Timeline. It'd be great to see these shows get their due on the silver screen, though I can understand why Hollywood may not want to make movies that specifically cater to the niche television-only crowd. Even then, it still feels best to make a movie in a timeline that feels full of life at the moment, especially compared to the Kelvin Timeline.
Doing A New Story (With New Characters) In The Kelvin Timeline Is Just A Complicated Reboot
Right now, we don't know what Noah Hawley's plans are for a Star Trek movie. Star Trek: Beyond underwhelmed at the box office though, so it wouldn't be surprising to learn a reboot is in order. My problem with a reboot happening in the Kelvin Timeline is that it would be complicated, which may sound contradictory considering I literally just said the universe is empty compared to the Prime Timeline.
But it really isn't, because Noah Hawley rebooting the franchise within the Kelvin Timeline then creates the burden of further fleshing out the universe. For example, if Hawley decided to cast James McAvoy as the Kelvin Jean-Luc Picard, there are going to be questions on how the world has changed since Chris Pine's Kirk was on the Enterprise. This means concocting a whole timeline of events that are similar to the Prime Timeline, but different in key areas.
In comparison, I would think it would be much easier to reboot the movies within the Prime Timeline, provided that is the plan. The lore is established, which means the guidelines of what not to do or contradict is already set in stone. Plus, there's an opportunity to bring in some added familiarity through characters cameoing who Star Trek fans know and love, if only to help put butts in seats and warm them up to new characters.
Meeting The Needs Of The Previous Star Trek Kelvin Cast Has Been Challenging
Again, we have no idea right now if Paramount is looking to make Star Trek 4 or another movie in the universe, but if it's the former that may be a challenge. The development process so far has been start and stop for partly that reason, with big ticket actors like Chris Pine and Chris Hemsworth (who was at one point attached to the movie) exiting for other projects when things stagnate. Both men surely come at a high price tag, as would others, like Marvel actress Zoe Saldana.
Then there's crafting a story that fully utilizes this talented cast, which can be an issue. Guys like Karl Urban have almost backed out in the past due to their lessened roles, and there's really no getting around excluding a number of the cast in any Star Trek adventure. It's typically not a huge deal in television because there are more episodes to let individual cast members stand out, but obviously the situation is different in movies.
And again, it's not like Star Trek: Beyond was an overwhelming success for the studio. There's a risk in bringing back the cast for another movie, and perhaps an even greater risk of losing a director trying to rope everyone back in for another adventure. If the Kelvin Timeline is being utilized simply to put these characters back in another movie, it's better off changing directions and starting fresh in the Prime Timeline.
Star Trek Movie Fans Deserve New, Exciting Things Too
Part of the thrill of this Star Trek television renaissance is that, for the first time in a long time, major things are happening in the franchise. It would be a real shame that while Star Trek is traveling a thousand years into the future on the small screen, the movie side could potentially be going back to a franchise it started over a decade ago.
I believe fans want something new, which is why there was such a buzz surrounding the possibility of Quentin Tarantino directing a movie. Star Trek is getting the kind of shake up akin to that on the television side, but the mainstream hasn't seen that as of late from the movie side. Whatever the next Star Trek movie ends up being about, hopefully it reflects and represents what an exciting time it is to be a Star Trek fan.
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