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Sorry, Star Trek 4 has been dead for a while now

We are still in denial when it comes to Star Trek 4, but the truth is, that movie will never see the light of day and we should all move on.

Chris Pine as James Kirk in Star Trek

Even when it seems everyone in the galaxy wants something to happen, sadly, fate just doesn’t play ball. Star Trek fans know exactly what I’m talking about, because we’ve been desperate for a fourth installment in the Kelvin timeline for years now, but it looks to be dead in the water.

Fair play to JJ Abrams, his rebooted Star Trek universe is damn good entertainment. Restarting the Star Trek timeline is no mean feat, but the trilogy of new movies was a big success. So much so that a Star Trek 4 release date has been mooted since 2016’s Star Trek Beyond.

The cast wants to go again, and various writers and directors have tried to make it happen, but unfortunately, the USS Enterprise‘s warp drive function appears to be out of order. Now, in an appearance on the TrekMovie podcast, makeup designer James MacKinnon was discussing the status of the Star Trek movie and had bad news: “I was hired for one week, and then I was fired because that shut down.”

MacKinnon has worked on Star Trek series like Picard but still holds out hope that he can take his talents to the big screen. “Maybe the Star Trek feature with Chris Pine comes back in the mix if they can get that thing written,” he added. “We were getting ready to start prepping that movie… We were supposed to shoot in the middle of [2022], and it was supposed to come out the following year [2023], but I think a script rewrite went in a different direction.”

The last we heard, WandaVision director Matt Shakman was going to helm the proposed Star Trek 4, with Abrams still involved as producer. Shakman has his hands full working towards the Fantastic Four release date, mind you, so we know he won’t be touching Trek for a while.

The problem, it seems, is that no one quite knows which direction to take the story for Star Trek 4. Pine and the rest of the cast are three stories deep into their journey, so a continuation of that feels natural, but it’s important to remember that Star Trek, traditionally, has thrived in its standalone adventures, too.

You only have to look at the wealth of Star Trek shows on Paramount Plus right now to see there is a great demand for all kinds of Star Trek characters and their stories, with a wide range of different tones and styles on offer. Lower Decks has given us quirky, playful animation; Picard was the culmination of the legendary Star Trek captain‘s story; and Star Trek Discovery season 5 will continue to tread a new path across the galaxy.

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There’s no reason why Pine’s iteration of James T. Kirk and the rest of the Enterprise crew can’t just hop on a singular expedition without being burdened by the narrative threads of the first three films in the series.

I will never stop championing Quentin Tarantino’s amazing Star Trek 4 idea, which would have sent Pine et al. to a crime-ridden planet reminiscent of 1930s America. That would have been the perfect way to have some fun with the franchise and offer something fresh while also taking advantage of the mass appeal Tarantino, and this cast have.

Alas, we can’t have nice things, can we? Still, at least we have the Star Trek Legacy release date to look forward to. You can also admire our list of the best Star Trek starships or find out which Star Trek captains would survive a zombie movie, recommended reading if you need cheering up after this bad news. Or, if the pain of Star Trek 4’s status is too much, maybe you’d rather get excited about Avatar 3 instead.