Writers Reveal Cancelled Star Trek 4 Chris Hemsworth Premise

As of this week, J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay have officially closed out their first season as the showrunners behind The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. But before Amazon invited them to Middle-earth, the pair were among several writers hired to tackle Star Trek 4 for Paramount. Payne and McKay’s draft notably gave a prominent role to Chris Hemsworth, who would have reprised his role as James T. Kirk’s father, George, from the original Star Trek reboot in 2009 and joined the Kelvin timeline cast on a new adventure. Now, the scribes (via Esquire) are revealing how his comeback would have played out onscreen.

Payne and McKay were developing their Star Trek 4 script alongside Lindsay Weber, who later joined them as an executive producer on The Rings of Power, and director S.J. Clarkson, who has since moved onto Sony’s Madame Web movie. Hemsworth’s involvement garnered a lot of attention, especially since his character appeared to die in Star Trek’s opening scene. But it sounds like we have the “Relics” episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation to thank for giving Payne and McKay the means of explaining his shocking return.

“They find Scotty, who’s been trapped in a transporter for a couple of decades,” recalled Payne. “And they’re able to have cool adventure with him. Our conceit was, ‘What if right before the Kelvin impacted with that huge mining ship, George Kirk had tried to beam himself over to his wife’s shuttle where his son, Jim Kirk, had just been born? And what if the ship hadn’t completely exploded—what if it left some space junk?’”

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“Think about when you send a text message and you’ve typed it out,” continued Payne. “But you haven’t quite hit send. On the other side, they see those three little dots that someone has typed. It’s like the transporter had absorbed his pattern up into the pattern buffer. But [it] hadn’t spit him out on the other side. It was actually a saved copy of him that was in the computer.”

Additionally, McKay went on to discuss how Hemswoth’s character would have been rescued:

“So the adventure is that Chris Pine and the crew of the Enterprise have to seek out the wreckage of the ship that his father died on because of a mystery and a new villain,” said McKay. “In the ship, they stumble across his father’s pattern. They beam him out and he has no idea that no time has passed at all, and that he’s looking at his son. Then the adventure goes from there.”

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McKay didn’t go into detail, but this “new villain” was a completely original character that he and Payne created themselves. He also likened their script to “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade in space” and said it had a “really cool 2001: A Space Odyssey-esque sci-fi idea” at its core. But in the end, it wasn’t meant to be. Both Pine and Hemsworth abandoned negotiations by mid-2018, leaving the status of the project in limbo.

Since then, Paramount has struggled to chart a course for Star Trek’s big-screen future. Most recently, the next film was slated to hit theaters in December 2023. But following director Matt Shakman’s exit in August, the sequel has been removed from the studio’s release calendar entirely.

What do you think of Payne and McKay’s ideas for Star Trek 4? Let us know in the comment section below!

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