Star Trek 4 Could Repeat J.J. Abrams' Smartest Sci-Fi Trick

Could a crossover help revive the Kelvin timeline?

Zachary Quinto and Chris Pine in Star Trek Beyond
Paramount Pictures
Star Trek

J.J. Abrams’ 2009 Star Trek reboot, and its two sequels, have a bit of a checkered reputation in the Trek fandom. That hasn’t stopped fans from hoping for a fourth film, or Abrams from promising its arrival.

Abrams and Paramount announced plans for Star Trek 4 shortly after Star Trek Beyond hit theaters in 2016, and a script was written that would see James Kirk (Chris Pine) trek through time to save his late father, George (Chris Hemsworth). Fans guessed the Kirks’ time-traveling odyssey would somehow cross over into the Prime timeline, where the vast majority of the franchise is set. But Abrams’ Kelvin universe has been quiet lately; though the cast seems game to return for one last adventure, nothing has been confirmed.

Zachary Quinto, who played Spock in the Kelvin films, recently spoke about the future of Star Trek 4 at the 57-Year Mission Convention in Las Vegas. While he treasures his Trek time, his chances of reprising the role appear slim. “I think it’s about different people having different agendas and ideas about what it will be,” Quinto said. “I don’t know if and when it will happen … if it coalesces again and we come back and we’re able to do it, wonderful. If not, we had a great run.”

Ethan Peck plays Spock in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.


As the years pass and the franchise beefs up its Prime timeline with new shows, Star Trek 4 seems less like a sure thing and more like a pipe dream. But there’s still a chance for one final appearance from the Kelvin crew, and Star Trek: Strange New Worlds may hold the key.

Quinto was later joined onstage by Ethan Peck, who’s taken on the role of Spock in Strange New Worlds. His incarnation of the character, like Quinto’s, is slightly different from the Spock of The Original Series. As Strange New Worlds takes place before the original voyages of the Enterprise, Peck portrays a younger version of Spock, and Quinto spoke fondly about “passing the mantle.”

His comments make it hard not to think of Quinto’s own encounter with Leonard Nimoy’s Spock in Star Trek. The pair briefly met in the 2009 film thanks to interdimensional shenanigans, and it felt like a passing of the torch. Though Star Trek 4 has been in limbo for some time, it would be nice to see that trend continue with Quinto and Peck. Of course, that would involve bringing the Kelvin crew into the Prime Trek timeline, however briefly. But Strange New Worlds has shown a willingness to experiment; just look at its recent crossover with the animated Lower Decks. If Trek 4 can pull it off too, it would be a great send-off for the cast, and a great entry point for fans of the Abrams films who’ve yet to explore the new Star Trek series.

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