The contemporary Star Trek franchise has been going through some firsts recently. First, S.J. Clarkson (Jessica Jones) signed on to direct Star Trek 4, making her the first woman to direct a Star Trek film in franchise history. Then, Quentin Tarantino surprisingly expressed some interest in writing/directing a Star Trek film, which, if so, would mark his first foray into franchise filmmaking.
Unfortunately, the latest first isn’t quite as positive as those two, as the first pay dispute has arisen and currently has the franchise contemplating losing two of its biggest stars. Star Trek 4 was set to feature the return of Chris Hemsworth as George Kirk, and would see Chris Pine‘s James Kirk teaming up with his deceased, time-travelling father for a great adventure.
Or maybe not. Per THR, both Pine and Hemsworth have exited talks to star in the upcoming sequel after salary negotiations fell apart. Deals for the rest of the cast – including Zoe Saldana, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, John Cho, and Simon Pegg – are in place, so it puts Paramount in a tricky position.
Do they make a Star Trek movie without Captain Kirk if they can’t come to an agreement on pay? Could they recast the role of George, since he only appeared in the prologue of the 2009 film? These are the kind of thoughts no major studio ever wants to have to contend with, though it would be interesting to see how well a Star Trek film performed without not one, but two Chrises.
Per the report, the talks fell apart over money and salary negotiations between the actors and the two companies behind the films, Paramount and Skydance Media. Pine and Hemsworth are reportedly asking the studios to stick to existing deals, while Paramount is holding firm to a budget, insisting that the Star Trek franchise is not successful on the level of something like Marvel.
The actors reportedly suspect that they’re being forced to take pay cuts on account of the disappointing box office returns of the previous film, Star Trek Beyond, which grossed only $343 million worldwide on a budget of $190 million.
This will be an interesting story to track. It could just be a case of both sides currently playing hardball in order to try and get the best deal, but it’s possible this drags on and Paramount have to make some tricky decisions. We’ll wait and see.