'Star Trek: Beyond' Sequel Approved Before Release Date: Chris Hemsworth's Kirk Returns!

By Victoria Guerra | Jul 19, 2016 08:32 PM EDT
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With the Star Trek: Beyond release date barely a few weeks away, the studio's already certain they've locked a big summer blockbuster -- so certain, in fact, a fourth installment has already been approved, with one surprising returning cast member: Chris Hemsworth! The Thor actor will return to the Starship Enterprise for the first time since 2009.

In the opening scene of the first Star Trek film of the rebooted franchise, Hemsworth, still two years away from his breakout role as the Norse god of thunder, played George Kirk, the father of Chris Pine's James T. Kirk, in a flashback scene that also featured Once Upon a Time star Jennifer Morrison as his wife. Now, according to Variety, Hemsworth will be returning to the role of the space captain, though there's no word yet on whether Morrison will do the same.

Paramount revealed that, in the upcoming (and still untitled) Star Trek 4, Captain Kirk somehow slips into a yet another time loop in the franchise and runs into his father, "a man he never had a chance to meet, but whose legacy has haunted him since the day he was born," via Screen Rant.

The rest of the main cast of the first three Star Trek movies is expected to return, including Zachary Quinto in the role of Mr. Spock, Simon Pegg as Scotty, Zoe Saldana as Uhura, Karl Urban as Bones and John Cho as Sulu.

Anton Yelchin, who played Chekov in the first three films of the rebooted franchise, recently died in a freak accident in his home.

Yelchin is the second big name in the Star Trek family to tragically pass in the last couple of years: Leonard Nimoy, who originated the role of Spock in the 60s series, died early last year.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the creation of Star Trek, and the film hitting theaters this summer is not the only planned celebration. Months back, it was announced that CBS, who owns the television rights for the franchise, announced that they'd be teaming up with Bryan Fuller (the creator of Hannibal, who started out working on Deep Space Nine and later Voyager) to helm a new series set in the same universe established in the original series and later ones. The show will air on CBS' streaming platform within the US and Canada, and on Netflix everywhere else.

The more recent Star Trek movies are set in an alternate reality within this universe, called the "Kelvin Timeline," thus named for the starship Hemsworth's character worked in when he died.

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