J.J. Abrams first stepped into the rudderless ship that is Star Trek back in the late 2000s. Abrams successfully breathed new life into the then-stagnating sci-fi franchise following several disappointing outings. 2009's Star Trek was both a critically acclaimed and financially successful endeavor, spawning two sequels in 2013 (Into Darkness) and 2016 (Beyond). Unfortunately, things hit a bit of a snag since then, sending Abrams' films into a tailspin that many had already expected to have crashed and burned - metaphorically speaking, of course.
But, as it turns out, J.J. Abrams' Star Trek series will continue to live on with a fourth film slated to kick off production in late 2022.
In a recent investor call, Paramount confirmed that J.J. Abrams is back at the helm as the producer with Matt Shakman directing. The studio is also talking to the original cast, including Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, John Cho, and Simon Pegg, to see if they would like to return. Although this is a high priority for Paramount, the studio faces a herculean task ahead of them. All of the cast members have since gone on to enjoy a significant pay raise and stature in Hollywood circles since 2016.
For example, Pine has since starred in both the DCEU's Wonder Woman movies. Meanwhile, Saldana will reprise her role as Gamora in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 and Neytiri in Avatar 2. Urban's also found success as one of the lead characters in Amazon's The Boys as Billy Butcher, which will see its third season premiere later this year. Also, Simon Pegg is still set to star as Benji in at least two more Mission Impossible sequels, one of which will premiere in a few months following an earlier delay. Finally, Cho was the star of Netflix's live-action Cowboy Bebop series, which fans are now petitioning for a second season after Netflix canceled it due to the "negative" reception.
The confirmation of an earlier report about Star Trek 4's 2023 premiere comes with both good news and bad news. For starters, more Star Trek is always better. Despite the lengthy delay, J.J. Abrams deserves the benefit of the doubt after delivering what is currently a billion-dollar trilogy. Unfortunately, with at least 7 years separating Beyond and Star Trek 4, it is now officially the longest gap in between movies featuring the same crew and universe. The last time that this happened, Paramount rebooted the entire franchise.
It will be interesting to see how fans respond to a fourth Star Trek movie featuring Pine and the rest of the crew if the film is released by 2024 or 2025, which is likely when you factor in the COVID-19 pandemic, reshoots, and editing, as well as trying to fit the movie into everyone's jam-packed schedule going forward.
In other news, the second season of Star Trek: Picard is set to drop on March 3 with a third season already confirmed for a 2023 premiere.