Star Trek 4 could have been a ‘father-son adventure’, writers say
Since Star Trek Beyond released in 2016, Paramount had trouble launching the fourth entry in the reboot film series. Before and after the film’s announcement, to everyone’s surprise (including actors!), creative teams for Star Trek 4 were attached and removed from the film many times. The last of these departures was the director Matt Shakman back in August after he was brought in to direct Fantastic Four for Marvel.
Before Shakman it all started with S.J. Clarkson attracted to direct a film written by J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay, who are currently The Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power on the Amazon. Speaking with Esq.McKay touched on what the duo’s film would be like if it saw the light of day. The most open secret of the unmade film is that it was supposed to return Chris Hemsworth George Kirk, father of James Kirk (Chris Pine), who died in the opening minutes of the 2009 film, and McKay confirmed that the two men would reunite.
“The vanity was that, due to a cosmic quirk in Star Trek world, they were the same age. This was to be a great father-son space adventure. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade in space,” McKay said. “We were very excited about it.” He and Payne worked on this script for nearly three years with Clarkson and Rings EP by Lindsay Weber but everything just flopped, which he called “heartbreaking”.
Regarding how the two Kirk men meet, Payne quoted Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Relics” as their justification in the world. “[The TNG crew] find Scotty, who has been trapped in a transporter for a couple of decades, and they can go on cool adventures with him, ”Pain explained. “Our vanity was, ‘What if, right before the Kelvin collided with this huge mining ship, George Kirk tried to teleport onto his wife’s shuttle where his son, Jim Kirk, had just been born?’ […] It was as if the transporter had absorbed his template into the template buffer, but didn’t spit it out on the other side. In fact, it was his saved copy, which was in the computer.
From there, in the movie, the crew of the Enterprise pulled George’s model out of the wreckage, and he had no idea of the time that had passed. The movie’s villain, whom the couple described as “original” rather than someone from the original series, would have been the reason to go on the hunt for George’s ship in the first place.
Paramount’s rejection of their film led Payne and McKay to refocus on television, and the rest is history. Sounds like an interesting idea the two of them had, but in a way it also feels like a step backwards. One of the reasons why outside was so good that it felt like a real ensemble film, rather than a film specifically dedicated to Kirk, which had been a problem with the previous two films. Father issues and unresolved family issues are on the rampage in the fiction genre, but they don’t have to fuel the story every time.
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