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Star Trek 4 Plot Gag Revealed

You may have seen various clickbait articles about the unmade Star Trek 4 script by J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay, now that the writers (who are running the Amazon Lord of the Rings show) spoke a bit about it.

This was going to be the next Star Trek movie after Beyond, but it didn’t happen.

Long story short, James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) and his father, George Kirk (Chris Hemsworth) were going to have a buddy-adventure together. And the plot gag to connect them?

George had been stuck in the transporter, a la Scotty in the TNG episode, “Relics.”

J.D. Payne: There’s an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation called “Relics” where they find Scotty, who’s been trapped a transporter for a couple of decades, and they’re able to have cool adventure with him. Our conceit was, “What if right before the Kelvin impacted with that huge mining ship, George Kirk had tried to beam himself over to his wife’s shuttle where his son, Jim Kirk, had just been born? And what if the ship hadn’t completely exploded—what if it left some space junk?” Think about when you send a text message and you’ve typed it out, but you haven’t quite hit send. On the other side, they see those three little dots that someone has typed. It’s like the transporter had absorbed his pattern up into the pattern buffer, but hadn’t spit him out on the other side. It was actually a saved copy of him that was in the computer.

I don’t want to judge a movie that was never made and a script I haven’t read. I just want to say...I read that explanation and rolled my eyes.

All of us who grew up reading comics books—we know how it is: Nobody’s ever really dead, so nothing ever really matters. The writers make up anything they need to make up to tell the stories that they want to tell, or that they are required to tell for business reasons.

That’s sort of how it has to be—and the only way it should be.

But it cheapens the whole thing.

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