Paramount has removed its untitled “Star Trek” sequel from its upcoming film slate. The project, produced by J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot, had been dated to hit theaters on Dec. 22, 2023.
The rather inevitable news comes roughly one month after director Matt Shakman exited the “Star Trek” film, which was nominally set to be the fourth cinematic tour of duty for Chris Pine as Kirk, Zachary Quinto as Spock, Zoe Saldana as Uhura, Karl Urban as Bones, John Cho as Sulu and Simon Pegg as Scotty. Shakman was successfully courted by Marvel Studios to helm its “Fantastic Four” reboot, reuniting the “WandaVision” director with the studio, after “Spider-Man: No Way Home” director Jon Watts left that film in April.
Shakman first became attached to the “Star Trek” sequel in the summer of 2021, following his acclaimed run directing every episode of “WandaVision” — the “Trek” announcement even landed the same day Shakman was nominated for an Emmy for the show.
Then this February, Abrams announced during the Paramount Global investors day presentation that a new “Trek” movie “will be shooting by the end of the year” and would feature “our original cast.”
The only problem, according to insiders, was that Pine, Quinto and the rest of the cast had not yet officially signed up for the movie when Abrams made his announcement, leaving Paramount with less than a year to secure the in-demand actors.
With the film now off its schedule, that deadline is no longer looming, but it still leaves Paramount without plans for an entry in its most valuable franchise. The last “Trek” feature came in 2016 with “Star Trek Beyond.” Directed by Justin Lin, “Beyond” earned $343.5 million worldwide — the lowest grosses of any of the “Trek” reboots from Bad Robot.
It’s not been for a lack of trying, either: Paramount has pursued multiple “Trek” film projects since “Beyond,” including reuniting Pine and Chris Hemsworth (who played Kirk’s father in 2009’s “Star Trek”) for director S.J. Clarkson, as well as versions overseen by “Fargo” auteur Noah Hawley and, yes, even Quentin Tarantino. None of them have been able to achieve orbit.
Meanwhile, “Star Trek” is enjoying is most robust presence ever on television, with five ongoing “Trek” series — “Star Trek: Discovery,” “Star Trek: Picard,” “Star Trek: Lower Decks,” “Star Trek: Prodigy,” and “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds” — all in various stages of production for Paramount+. The latest entry, “Strange New Worlds,” even takes place roughly in the same time period as the Pine and Quinto movies, albeit in a totally separate timeline.