In 2016, just before Star Trek Beyond hit theaters, fans and journalists were told that the next movie in the reboot series would have not one Kirk, but two. The proposed sequel is today dubbed Star Trek 4, not to be confused with 1986’s Star Trek IV: The One With the Whales. But like The Voyage Home, this hypothetical film would have involved time travel. Again.
Here’s why Chris Hemsworth recently said he’d still do this movie, but thinks there’s one big reason it won’t work.
What was the plot of “Star Trek 4?”
Although there have been several attempts at making a fourth Star Trek feature film set in the reboot Kelvin timeline, the proposed double-Chris (Pine and Hemsworth), double-Kirk (Jim and George) time travel movie was the first. A script was written by J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay, now better known as the showrunners of The Rings of Power, which would have re-teamed James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) with his father, George Kirk (Chris Hemsworth), in a time travel adventure that prevented George from dying on the USS Kelvin in the 2009 Star Trek movie.
“It was going to be a grand father-son space adventure—think Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade in space,” Patrick McKay told Esquire earlier this year. “The conceit was that through a cosmic quirk in the Star Trek world, they were the same age.”
And it’s in this detail that Chris Hemsworth thinks the project probably won’t work anymore.
The Hemsworth time travel wrinkle
In a new interview with the Happy Sad Confused podcast, Hemsworth dives into why the father-son Kirk time travel story is trickier now than it was back in 2016. As TrekMovie pointed out, it’s been nearly 15 years since Hemsworth shot the 2009 Star Trek film.
“It would be weird now to flash back to your father and say, ‘Why is he so much older than the first time when he died?’” Hemsworth said. It’s a good point. If the idea was that George Kirk had been saved before dying on the USS Kelvin, then it would be strange if he was suddenly much older.
Of course, George Kirk could be brought back with an alternate universe instead of time travel. Although Hemsworth didn’t mention this possibility, one way for a future Trek film to bring back Hemsworth is to introduce him as the George Kirk of the Prime Universe. If Prime George Kirk crossed both time barriers and the barriers between the different universes, then Hemsworth could suddenly be whatever age he needed to be. This is Star Trek; there’s a way.
Star Trek: Discovery Season 3 acknowledged that the Prime Universe is aware of the Kelvin Universe in the 32nd Century. Hemsworth’s George Kirk is a focal point in the creation of the Kelvin Universe, but that doesn’t mean he’s also not the proud father of William Shatner and/or Paul Wesley. So if Star Trek wanted to really take a risk with a George Kirk crossover, the next stop wouldn’t have to be a movie, but Strange New Worlds.
Star Trek (2009) with Chris Hemsworth currently streams on Netflix.