Star Trek 4 Loses Two Key Actors

    A Tale of Two Chrises

Chris Pine and Chris Hemsworth exited negotiations to appear in Star Trek 4. The film, meant to be a time travel adventure revolving around James Kirk meeting his father, George, was announced before the release of Star Trek: Beyond.

Star Trek 4 Budget Woes

Chris Hemsworth and Chris Pine Star Trek 2009
Chris Hemsworth (L) and Chris Pine (R) in Star Trek (2009)

Star Trek is in a weird spot. On one hand, Paramount continually releases well-received Trek movies and television series. On the other hand, their acclaim does not bring financial success. Star Trek: Beyond underperformed in the shadow of the disappointing Into Darkness and the new Star Wars films. Discovery earned admiration, but budget constraints forced a staffing change. Now, it appears, money forced two of Star Trek’s most bankable stars out of the next film.

Back in 2009, Chris Pine and Chris Hemsworth appeared in JJ Abrams’s Star Trek. Hemsworth portrayed George Samuel Kirk, and Pine filled William Shatner’s shoes as James Tiberius Kirk. Although Hemsworth only appeared in one scene, it connected with audiences and he gained popularity for his portrayal of Thor. Over the course of the next two films, George Kirk remained a footnote in James’s story, but Paramount and Bad Robot wanted to rectify that in Star Trek 4.

Announced right before Beyond hit theaters, Star Trek 4 found James and company in the past, meeting George Kirk. It’s a good hook since time travel popped up in the first Trek reboot film, and both Chrises draw audiences. However, the popularity of the two actors led to disaster when both Hemsworth and Pine exited negotiations over salary.

Superhero Salary Showdown

Chris Hemsworth makes a comfortable paycheck in the MCU. Also, Chris Pine earns his keep in the DCEU, alongside a handful of well-received independent fare. Unfortunately, Paramount cannot keep up with Disney and WB’s superhero budgets, and the actors would receive a pay cut for the fourth film. It’s easy to say each actor makes ends meet elsewhere and the ensemble nature of Star Trek is more important than their bottom line. But their other films demand a lot of their time and resources. So, it must be “worth their while” to come back.

This is a tough one, folks. Star Trek: Beyond is an outstanding piece of popcorn entertainment, and criminally underseen. But, business is business, and it might be best to let Star Trek 4 die on the Chris-shaped vine. Besides, Bad Robot and Quentin Tarantino have a Trek movie in development, Discovery is gearing up for season two, and Patrick Stewart is headed to the bridge once again. Fortunately, there is plenty of Trek to go around!

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