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Star Trek 4 Release Date, Cast, And Plot - What We Know So Far

Since JJ Abrams rebooted the "Star Trek" franchise in 2009 with his film "Star Trek," the three films in the new Kelvin timeline of Abrams' creation have been a smashing success. Altogether, "Star Trek," 2013's "Star Trek Into Darkness" and 2016's "Star Trek Beyond" have grossed more than a billion dollars at the global box office (via The Numbers).

So, it was always a good bet that a fourth "Star Trek" film in the rebooted franchise would happen. Even so, the road to "Star Trek 4," (which is still the working title), has not been a smooth one. In 2016, Screenwriting duo JD Payne and Patrick McKay (Amazon's upcoming "Lord of the Rings" series) took the first crack at a script for Abrams (via Deadline). Then, the following year, Abrams and company went into development on a pitch from Quentin Tarantino, which was scripted by Mark L. Smith ("The Revenant"), but later abandoned the project (via Variety). Up next was "Fargo" TV series creator Noah Hawley, who was hired to write and direct the "Beyond" sequel in 2019, but dropped in 2020 (via Deadline).

Now, in early 2022, "Star Trek 4" has finally found its script and is moving forward. Here's everything we know so far about "Star Trek 4."

What is the release date for Star Trek 4?

As reported by The Hollywood Reporter, "Star Trek 4" will premiere on December 23, 2023. Producers JJ Abrams and Brian Robbins revealed the release date at a Paramount investor event in February 2022.

The fourth "Star Trek" film in JJ Abrams' Kelvin timeline has been planned since as early as 2015, before filming for 2016's Star Trek Beyond had begun. That year, stars Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto agreed to raises as well as contract options for a fourth film in the rebooted series (via The Hollywood Reporter).

Since then, the script has undergone several revisions by different writers, detailed above. The current script is being co-written by Josh Friedman ("Snowpiercer") and Cameron Squires ("WandaVision"), who adapted it from an earlier draft by Lindsey Beer and Geneva Robertson-Dworet.

Filming for "Star Trek 4" is set to begin in late 2022 (via Collider). 

Who is in the cast of Star Trek 4?

As of this writing, the cast of "Star Trek 4" hasn't yet been confirmed, but Paramount has indicated that the plan is for the main cast members to all return. That includes Chris Pine as Captain James Kirk, Zachary Quinto as first officer Commander Spock, Karl Urban as medical officer Lieutenant Commander Leonard McCoy, Zoe Saldana as communications officer Lieutenant Nyota Uhura, Simon Pegg as chief engineer Lieutenant Commander Montgomery Scott, and John Cho as helmsman Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu. The six actors have starred in all three films beginning in 2009 (via The Hollywood Reporter). 

In his statement at the investors' event, Abrams also indicated that the story would introduce new characters not yet seen in the Kelvin timeline, whom Abrams described as "really fun and exciting" and will "help take 'Star Trek' into areas that you've just never seen before" (via Variety).

"Star Trek 4" will be directed by Matt Shakman, who most recently directed all nine episodes of "WandaVision." Shakman has more than 50 directing credits, including shows like "Game of Thrones," "Succession," "Fargo," and "The Good Wife." This will be his second film directing credit (via IMDb).

What is the plot of Star Trek 4?

At this point, no plot details for the upcoming fourth "Star Trek" movie have been revealed, but it will reportedly take place after the events of 2016's "Star Trek Beyond," which was directed by Justin Lin ("The Fast and the Furious" franchise).

In "Star Trek Beyond," Kirk and the crew of the USS Enterprise see their beloved ship crashed on the planet Altamid, after an ambush by pre-Federation human soldier, Captain Balthazar Edison (Idris Elba). When Kirk and the gang discovered Edison's plans to use an ancient bioweapon to destroy the Federation, they were forced to stop him, without the help of their ship. That film also saw the death of Ambassador Spock (Leonard Nimoy), as well as the end of the relationship between Spock and Uhuru.

One story we know "Star Trek 4" won't be exploring is a reunion between Captain Kirk and his father George involving time travel. Chris Hemsworth briefly played George Kirk in 2009's "Star Trek," but turned down a chance to reprise the role in a bigger story in 2019 (via ​​Digital Spy).

"Star Trek 4" also won't tie into any of the current or recent TV series about Star Trek, like "Star Trek Voyager," "Star Trek Picard," or "Star Trek Below Decks," as those series take place in a universe separate from the Kelvin timeline.