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Star Trek 4's Wild Plot Would Have Revived Chris Hemsworth As Captain Kirk's Dad

"Star Trek 4" could have been the wildest father-son team-up film we would have ever seen.

Before he gave "Star Wars" its groove back, J.J. Abrams efficiently rebooted Paramount's beloved "Star Trek" series for the big screen. Back in 2009, the studio roped the filmmaker in to completely retool the franchise, allowing the creative the opportunity to give the Starship Enterprise a fresh coat of blockbuster paint.

Simply titled "Star Trek," the project gave the franchise a brand new timeline (titled "Kelvin"), allowing Abrams complete creative freedom. It was an effort that mostly worked. While some criticized the film for feeling too action-packed and fast-paced, it proved to be a relative financial success, grossing over $385 million worldwide. What most seemed to agree on was the film's stellar cast, which felt almost perfect. The charming Chris Pine was brought on board as Captain Kirk, while Zachary Quinto was tapped to play the hard-thinking Spock. The rest of the "Star Trek" cast is just as impressive, but Chris Hemsworth stands out in the star-studded affair. 

Hemsworth, before he was a Marvel icon, played George Kirk, the father of the future Captain Kirk. George is seen in the film's opening minutes, going up against the nefarious Romulans, only to die. While Hemsworth's role was brief, there was a chance that he could have played a key role in the "Star Trek" franchise if things had gone as planned. While speaking with Esquire, screenwriters J. D. Payne and Patrick McKay revealed that Hemsworth's character would have been in a hypothetical fourth "Star Trek" outing. "The conceit was that through a cosmic quirk in the Star Trek world, they were the same age," McKay revealed, describing the film as a "grand father-son space adventure." 

How Star Trek would have brought Chris Hemsworth back

During their chat with Esquire, the creative duo, who have since gone on to helm Prime Video's "The Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power," opened up about what their scrapped "Star Trek 4" would have looked like. Patrick McKay described the Chris Hemsworth and Chris Pine-focused "Star Trek 4" as "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" in space, noting how the film features the famed archeologist (Harrison Ford) going on an adventure with his father (Sean Connery). "We were really thrilled about it," McKay said about the "Star Trek 4" script. "We had an original villain and a really cool '2001: A Space Odyssey'-esque sci-fi idea at the core." 

J. D. Payne continued by explaining what the core premise of the film would have been. "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?" Payne said, adding that the ship wouldn't have completely exploded. The screenwriter continued by saying that a saved version of Hemsworth's character existed in the still-intact transponder. 

McKay expanded by saying that Captain Kirk (Pine) and his team of space sleuths would "have to seek out the wreckage of the ship that his father died on because of a mystery and a new villain." There, the Enterprise's crew would have been able to bring Kirk's father back. "They beam him out and he has no idea that no time has passed at all, and that he's looking at his son," McKay said. This certainly would have been an exciting idea for another "Star Trek" outing. Unfortunately, the film failed to make it past the scripting stage. 

Why the Chris Hemsworth Star Trek film fell through

Since 2016's "Star Trek Beyond," the franchise has largely remained dormant on the silver screen. The series, however, continues to make strides on television and streaming, where projects like "Star Trek: Discovery" and "Strange New Worlds" continue to dominate. Unfortunately, the Kelvin timeline hasn't had the same luck. In the chat with Esquire, co-writer Patrick McKay lamented how the Chris Hemsworth-led "Star Trek 4" never manifested. "We worked on it for two and half years with Lindsey Weber, our non-writing executive producer on 'Rings of Power,' and an amazing director, S.J. Clarkson," McKay noted. "The movie eventually fell apart and it really was a heartbreak for us." 

In 2019, Hemsworth candidly revealed that he wasn't invested in the idea of a potential "Star Trek" return, a decision that likely stalled progress on the franchise's cinematic endeavors. "I didn't feel like we landed on a reason to revisit that yet," the "Thor" star told Variety. "I didn't want to be underwhelmed by what I was going to bring to the table," the actor added. Seeing as Hemsworth's clout in Hollywood has only grown since his brief appearance in the first "Star Trek," it makes sense that he's focusing on projects that genuinely intrigue him. 

Since the McKay and J. D. Payne script fell through, a number of creatives have tried to tackle a potential "Star Trek 4," though nothing has seen the light of day. Why is the film taking so long? Zachary Quinto says that there are creative reasons for stalling the fourth outing. "I think there's a lot of other stuff, creative things," Quinto said at the 57-Year Mission convention in 2023, per TrekMovie.com. "I think it's about different people having different agendas and ideas about what it will be," the Spock actor added.