Two years before he picked up Mjolnir, glued on a long blond wig, and made his debut as Thor in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Chris Hemsworth played James Kirk's doomed father briefly in the 2009 Star Trek reboot. His brave George Kirk perishes in battle when the future Captain of the U.S.S. Enterprise is just a baby, seemingly ending Hemsworth's tenure in the Star Trek franchise barely after it began. But an announcement that came through from the Paramount Pictures camp on Monday should be welcome news for both Star Trek and Hemsworth fans. There will be a sequel to Star Trek Beyond, and George Kirk will be one of the main characters.
There's no official title yet for what I'll call Star Trek 4, and the timing Paramount's confirmation of the next installment of the lucrative modern franchise is a little surprising. Star Trek Beyond opens wide on July 22; fans can go into that film confident that it's just another stop on the ride. But details about Star Trek 4 are scarce. So far, the return of a character who seemed to be pretty thoroughly blown up is the biggest news. The studio is keeping the circumstances of George Kirk's return a secret for now, but the brief synopsis that they shared in a press release (as reported by Variety) confirms that the Kirk men will have a close encounter. "In the next installment of the epic space adventure," the release states, "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.”
There's a mini-spoiler for Beyond in the confirmed: alive status of Captain Kirk (who already had the death scare in Star Trek Into Darkness and, let's be honest, wouldn't be killed off anyway), but the release doesn't name any other characters besides Jim and George. Paramount does share some creative credits on the movie. Star Trek 4 will be written by J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay, who are also listed on IMDB for uncredited contributions to the Star Trek Beyond script. (Doug Jung and Simon Pegg, who also plays Scotty in the reboot series, share the "Written By" title.) No director is attached as of now. Justin Lin helmed Star Trek Beyond, but he's an in-demand property with 14 projects including Space Jam 2 listed as being development. Whether or not Star Trek and Into Darkness director J.J. Abrams returns to the chair on this one, he's still on board as a producer with his production company Bad Robot.
There's no release date to accompany the Star Trek 4 announcement. Not even a year. For reference, four years passed between the release of the first two movies. Star Trek Beyond comes three years after Into Darkness. So best guess, the unexpected reunion between James T. Kirk and his dead dad won't make it into theaters until at least 2019. But just think: you'll have the new CBS Star Trek TV series to keep you boldly going in the meantime.
Images: Paramount Pictures; Giphy (2)