Star Trek 4 has suffered multiple delays over the years due to myriad factors, including actor negotiations, a constant shuffle of directors, and studio trepidation about the franchise. Set in the Kelvin Timeline, which re-established Star Trek after the original series featuring Captain Kirk and the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise ended their decades-long theatrical reign, the series picked up in a new direction that would both honor the Prime Timeline while boldly going in a new direction. The new crew includes Chris Pine as Kirk, Zachary Quinto as Spock, Zoe Saldana as Uhura, Karl Urban as McCoy, John Cho as Sulu, and Simon Pegg as Scotty. Actor Anton Yelchin, who played Chekov, died in 2016.,J.J. Abrams directed the first new Star Trek film with 2009’s Star Trek, which went on to be a hit for Paramount, pulling in $385 million worldwide and reestablishing the series to viewers. The sequel, 2013’s Star Trek Into Darkness (also directed by Abrams), took some critical hits but had a strong global box-office showing with $467 million. The third entry, 2016’s Star Trek Beyond, was another story, replacing Abrams with director Justin Lin of the Fast & Furious franchise and failing to make the same impression as previous entries, making $343 million worldwide. This was less than the 2009 film despite being built off of a bigger budget of about $35 million.,Related: The Kelvin Timeline’s Cast Is Star Trek 4’s Secret Weapon,The lackluster performance of Star Trek Beyond put Paramount in a position of not really knowing what to do next with the franchise, exploring several options with varying directors, from Quentin Tarantino to Noah Hawley, as well as a high-concept version that would team up Pine with Chris Hemsworth, who played his father in the first film. Negotiations and creative visions fell through on multiple occasions, leaving the franchise lost in space, before recently securing WandaVision director Matt Shakman to take the helm – and the studio has since set a 2023 theatrical date for the proposed fourth entry. Here’s an in-depth look at what’s taking Star Trek 4 so long to come to fruition.,Star Trek 4 was announced as early as 2016 with a concept emerging that would have Pine’s Kirk team up in a time-traveling adventure with his father, played by Hemsworth in the prologue of 2009’s Star Trek. The project fell through as Paramount attempted to renegotiate when deals were already in place for Pine, and Hemsworth was commanding much more than what the studio was budgeting for. Both actors eventually walked away from the project. However, Hemsworth recently addressed the idea for the movie while doing press for Thor: Love and Thunder, saying that it “fell apart” at the time but that if Abrams called him up to do it today, he would likely jump onboard again.,Another factor that’s played a key role in the delays is getting the cast back together at the same time, as most actors have moved on to other projects, which would preclude them from appearing in Star Trek 4 if it was filmed at a time they were not contractually available, such as Pine shooting Wonder Woman 1984, Urban shooting Prime Video’s The Boys, and Saldana shooting Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. When an actor signs on for a specific role, they are contractually obligated to fulfill that contract until the project is complete, which means they can’t take time off to go shoot something else unless stipulated in the contract. This kind of coordination with multiple A-list actors is exceptionally tricky, especially as they become more in demand over time, which has happened for many of the Star Trek 4 players.,After the Hemsworth/Pine team-up endeavor failed to launch, Fargo’s Noah Hawley was brought on board to write and direct Star Trek 4 in 2019. His idea for the sequel was as “a new beginning” which wouldn’t focus on Kirk and his crew but rather on a new crew, supposedly led by actress Cate Blanchett in an undisclosed role. Tarantino proposed his own take on Star Trek around the same time, which would’ve been an R-rated 1920s gangster movie based on the “A Piece of the Action” episode from the original TV series, which had the crew land on a planet that resembled the time period. Both Hawley and Tarantino’s versions were eventually scrapped in favor of a continuation with the Kelvin Timeline cast, which is said to have been decided over market research that found audiences favored seeing the same crew back for more.,Related: How WandaVision’s Director Already Proved He’s Perfect For Star Trek 4,The release date for Star Trek 4 is currently set for December 22nd, 2023, which is a newer release date after the film was pushed back six months from its original planned release date in the summer. Pine, Saldana, Urban, Pegg, etc. have all commented on wanting to be a part of the fourth film, as well as being eager to see a script, but none of them are currently locked for the film, making it difficult to ascertain if the studio can hit their target release date. With a script forthcoming and Shakman already meeting with the cast and crew, this is the closest Star Trek 4 has come since 2016 to getting off the ground and being a sure thing. With a year and a half to go before release, there’s ample time to finally get this crew back in theaters and meet the release date, hopefully finding their momentum again to keep the franchise going.,Next: Strange New Worlds’ Success Makes Star Trek 4 Even Harder To Pull Off