Karl Urban is Unsure Whether 'Star Trek 4' Will Ever Get Made

Friday, 13 October 2017 - 5:47PM
Star Trek
Star Trek Beyond
Friday, 13 October 2017 - 5:47PM
Karl Urban is Unsure Whether 'Star Trek 4' Will Ever Get Made
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Bad news for Trekkies, and anyone else with a vested interest in speculative science fiction.

Karl Urban, who plays Dr Leonard H "Bones" McCoy in the Star Trek movies from JJ Abrams and Justin Lin, has spoken out about what's going on with the announced Star Trek 4, and it's not good. Basically, there's no word from anyone in the production company as to whether this movie is actually going ahead, and Urban is bracing himself to accept the fact that the movie series might be dead in the water.

Speaking to ScreenCrush, Urban explained how much he knew about the movie, which is next to nothing:

Opening quote
"Listen, we'd all love to make another Star Trek movie. That's absolutely certain. But if we don't get that opportunity then I'm really happy to have ended on such a good note. We had such a wonderful time shooting Star Trek Beyond. It was an amazing experience - and we're all still grieving over the fact that it was the last time that we got to shoot with Anton [Yelchin]. We're all like a family. It won't be the same without him."
Closing quote

Urban's words echo similar sentiments from others involved with the project over the past year, who've generally been a bit pessimistic as to whether a fourth film in the series will actually happen. Initially during the release of Star Trek Beyond in 2016, Paramount was quick to announce big plans for the future of the franchise, which would involve a new movie seeing Chris Pine's Captain Kirk teaming up with his deceased father, played by Chris Hemsworth. The strategy at play seemed to involve pulling a Marvel by getting several of the big Hollywood Chrises in the same place at the same time for movie magic.

From the looks of things, though, that's really not going to happen. Star Trek Beyond was certainly more popular with fans than Into Darkness, but the lost goodwill from JJ Abrams' second movie in the series did hurt the third movie's box office taking. Beyond made $340 million on a $185 million budget, which sounds solid until you factor in that movie studios generally spend double a film's production budget on marketing a movie.

Official figures for advertising are never released, but it's safe to assume that if Beyond did break even, it was by such a small amount that Paramount are probably fairly justified in worrying that a sequel might not be a wise investment.

If there's an intergalactic elephant (or indeed an Ephant Mon) in the room, it's the Star Wars revival. When the new Star Trek movie reboots began, the franchise's greatest rival was dormant, but now that Disney is cranking out highly successful space operas, it makes sense that audiences don't feel Trek is quite so crucial anymore.

It's a shame, but it's somewhat to be expected. After all, Abrams essentially made a pair of Star Wars movies that wear the ill-fitting skin of a Star Trek story, and the effort to turn Trek into something more explosive and action-packed now means that it feels even more like a Star Wars wannabe from the perspective of the average moviegoer. Hardcore Trek fans have felt alienated by these new movies, and as such, are justifiable in losing interest in the series.

Still, there is hope on the horizon for Star Trek 4. If Star Trek: Discovery does well enough at reigniting interest in this long-running franchise, Paramount may be convinced to give things another try with a fourth movie in the Kelvin timeline.

Of course, Discovery is buried behind CBS' ridiculous new paywall, so it's probably not worth holding out much hope for a sudden new burst of cultural interest in Star Trek in general. It's not like we can even watch fanfilms, as they get shot down by corporate lawyers in a burst of legal phaser blasts.

Ah well, at least we'll always have The Voyage Home, the movie where Kirk and crew go back in time to save the whales.
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