The potential exits of not one but TWO Captain Kirks has thrown Star Trek 4's pre-production into a temporal flux. And he might not return.
The main issue here is that the scenario seems to hinge on the casting of both Pine and Hemsworth.
Zoe Saldana, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg, and John Cho are all reportedly expected to return, and I'm sure there's an unbelievable story to be told with Uhura, Spock, Dr. McCoy, Scotty, and Sulu. Unless there's some unforeseen mutiny about to arise, in which the entire crew of the Enterprise will need to be recast.
Pine was set to return for his fourth outing as Captain Kirk, having been a part of the franchise since the 2009 reboot. Hemsworth is a big star, but he was only in the opening prologue of Star Trek. And that's said to be the main reason for these talks falling apart. However, the disappointing box office of Star Trek Beyond appeared to slow down progress on the sequel.
Where would you like to see the Star Trek film franchise go from here?
The deal breaker was money. Tarantino's next project Once Upon A Time In Hollywood is now deep into filming but this time next year he'll be long done with the making of the film as it'll already be out in theatres. And it simply won't have the same resonance if two other actors step in for Pine and Hemsworth.
Even worse, producers were reportedly waiting to lock down both Pine and Hemsworth before negotiating deals for supporting cast members like Zachary Quinto (Spock), Zoe Saldana (Uhura) and Simon Pegg (Scotty), so the whole project sounds like a hot mess at the moment.
Pine has had his deal locked in place for years.
It's not yet clear what will happen to Star Trek 4 from this point on. But Paramount doesn't care about that deal, apparently.
THR reports that one insider says the companies actually lost money on the movie. The 2009 movie made only $385 million worldwide, but it made $257 million from domestic receipts.
But, Paramount has also maybe been a little stingy with their numbers.
Right now, Pine and Hemsworth have turned their backs on the franchise. The movie won't be canceled. S.J. Clarkson was tapped to direct the project, potentially making her the first female director for a Star Trek movie. "I can't wait to work with her".
Of course, this puts Paramount in an awkward situation.