Every indication is that Chris Pine has left Star Trek behind, which means fans need to ask if recasting Captain Kirk is an option.
It would appear that Chris Pine has beamed off the bridge of the U.S.S. Enterprise for the last time.
As has been widely reported, Pine walked away from the proposed fourth Star Trek film along with Chris Hemsworth, who was to return as George Kirk, over salary issues. After the disappointing box office returns for Star Trek Beyond, Paramount was desperate to bring the budget for future Trek films under control. This meant trying to renegotiate with Pine and lower his salary for the film, which was already set due to contracts everyone had already agreed to.
Pine refused and walked away. That was back in August of last year and so far, there has been no word if the studio and Pine are even talking. The fact Star Trek 4 was shelved is not a good sign that Paramount thinks the situation can be resolved any time soon.
What this means is that if Paramount wants to continue the Kelvin films (Quentin Tarantino’s Star Trek project notwithstanding) they need to figure out how to proceed without Captain James T. Kirk in the captain’s chair.
Or do they?
Because one option that no one has mentioned is recasting Kirk and replacing Pine in future movies.
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Blasphemy? Maybe. A completely workable solution? Definitely.
Recasting Kirk for future Star Trek movies might not be that popular with the hardcore Trekkers, but it could solve a number of issues and ensure Kelvin Timeline fans get more films. That said, finding the right actor who could fill Pine’s shoes would not be an easy task. And making sure he had chemistry with the rest of the cast would be essential. But it could work.
It’s not like characters in popular franchises have never been recast. I think everyone will agree that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is a much better with Mark Ruffalo as the Incredible Hulk instead of Edward Norton. Jodie Foster, who became a horror icon in The Silence of the Lambs, was replaced by Julianne Moore in the sequel.
Hell, this wouldn’t even be the first time Kirk has been recast as Pine himself replaced the one and only William Shatner.
Of course, recasting a character who is basically the focus of a franchise is a bit different. Nevertheless, even this could be worked around if you shifted the focus of Star Trek 4 to Zachary Quinto’s Spock and made Kirk more of a supporting role this time around. Then by the time Star Trek 5 is ready to go into production, the new Kirk will be broken in and fans should have an easier time accepting him in the role.
Is recasting Kirk the perfect solution? Of course not. The best case scenario would be Chris Pine and Paramount working out their differences and him returning to the bridge of the Enterprise. But since that likely won’t happen, this could be a viable alternative to just letting the Kelvin films fade into obscurity. Which many fans would hate to see happen.