Does it seem rude to talk about the next Star Trek movie while Star Trek Beyond is still in its opening weekend? I sort of feel bad. While Matt Singer may have enjoyed the movie a little more than me, Star Trek Beyond is still a pretty fun ride and deserves at least a few days of appreciation before we move right along to the next thing. Part of me feels like I’m going over to my coworker’s desk the day he announces his retirement so I can pick through his things and claim them for my own cubicle. Then again, maybe if my coworker didn’t want his stuff stolen, he shouldn’t have announced his retirement so early. So that makes it J.J. Abrams’s fault.

In a conversation with Entertainment Weekly (via GameSpot), Abrams talked about the next Star Trek film and why he was so excited to get Chris Hemsworth under contract this early in the game.

So one of the reasons that I’m hoping [Star Trek Beyond] does well is so that we can, without question, get that movie made. It really is an amazing story. It’s really the reason we made the deal with Chris Hemsworth as soon as we could because we really wanted that story to be told, so fingers crossed.

When we ran the news that Hemsworth had been signed for Star Trek 4, we made note of the speculation that the return of George Kirk could signal the end of the Kelvin Universe. Basically, if the crew of the USS Enterprise is given the opportunity to fix the rupture to the timeline made in the 2009 film, this would close the loop on all four films and set them neatly aside from the rest of the Star Trek universe. The themes of the last two Star Trek movies have greatly favored self-sacrifice and unity, so it’s entirely in keeping with these movies to have the crew of the Enterprise give up their own existence to restore the order of things and ensure the survival of the Vulcan race.

If that is the direction that J.J. Abrams is headed, then he’s right: getting Hemsworth back — and possibly Eric Bana at some point, too, because I love Eric Bana — would be essential to the success of the next story. It’s all speculation, of course, and nobody knows how to play with fan expectations quite like Abrams, but it’s still a world of endless possibilities for the Star Trek franchise. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens next.

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