Star Trek 4 has been questionable since the disappointing returns of the third film in the reboot series, Star Trek Beyond, and what the franchise’s current Spock had to say in a recent television appearance is not a hopeful sign.
The film, which would presumably bring the original series Enterprise crew back for another adventure, could be hinging on the success of CBS’s upcoming television series Star Trek Discovery.
The new television series will dabble in the original series’ timeline, though it will follow a different cast of characters with only the possibility of some “familiar” faces turning up here and there.
Still, Star Trek is Star Trek, and a hit would breathe life into the possibility of another big screen adventure.
The late Gene Roddenberry’s sci-fi saga needs that shot in the arm now more than ever. Star Trek Beyond, in spite of being well received critically and by Trekkers who gave it a shot, was largely a box office fail.
While the full extent cannot be known due to studios being notoriously stingy with the transparency of their marketing budgets, it is widely accepted the film’s $343 million worldwide gross failed to turn a profit, marking quite the fall for a franchise that launched with a well-received box office hit in its 2009 reboot/sequel.
While Screen Rant notes the film was a success due to the $185 million shooting budget, it does not account for the marketing expenses on such a large tentpole film.
It is not uncommon for blockbusters of the Star Trek Beyond caliber to cost twice as much as their shooting budgets when marketing is factored in. Assuming that’s the case here, Star Trek Beyond‘s $185 million becomes $370 million, making the film’s profits in doubt.
— Flickering Myth (@flickeringmyth) April 23, 2017
Adding to those fears of the new timeline being dead in the water are recent comments made by Zachary Quinto, the actor who took over playing Leonard Nimoy’s iconic character seven years ago.
In a recent appearance on Today, Quinto had this to say about the prospects of a Star Trek 4 with the new cast reprising the original characters.
“I know that they are working on a script for another one and we’ll see how that all plays out, but the nice thing about that experience is that the time in between those big tentpole films allows us to go off and cultivate a lot of different creative experiences for ourselves. I’m hopeful that we’ll do another one, but there’s no guarantee.”
While there is reason for fans to be concerned, the likelihood of this being the franchise-as-a-whole’s last gasp is low.
Fans initially saved the original series when it faced cancellation, and they kept it going through the lean years of the 1970s through Star Trek: The Animated Series and Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
The saga became a mainstay with the financial and critical success of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and has remained a pop culture fixture since, spawning spinoffs, comic books, and more.
— Remy Dean (@DeanAuthor) April 19, 2017
It is possible that Paramount and CBS damaged their brand in the last year when they targeted the long-accepted fan film community with a lawsuit against the makers of Star Trek: Axanar.
According to The Verge, the suit was quietly settled in January, 2017, and ended with Paramount/CBS setting forth new fan film guidelines, demanding that future derivative works “must be less than 15 minutes long, they can’t use the name Star Trek in their title, and they must use commercially available costumes and props. Fundraising for such films is capped at $50,000,” the site notes.
What do you think about Star Trek 4? Would you like to see it happen, or is it time to retire the franchise? Sound off in the comments section below.
[Featured Image by Paramount]