This latest development has thrown the entire production into a state of flux and it’s now uncertain what the two studios will do to ensure the project, which remains a high priority for them, stays on track. THR theorizes that both sides could ultimately return to the negotiating table to hammer out new contracts, but, if they can’t come to terms, then the roles of both Captain Kirk (Pine) and his father (Hemsworth) could potentially be recast, but that’s a last-ditch move that almost definitely wouldn’t go over well with fans.
As for what happened, it appears that there was a major money dispute. According to the report, both Pine and Hemsworth have had deals in place for the fourth installment since 2016, but, due to the underwhelming box office performance of Star Trek Beyond ($343.4M worldwide on a $190M budget), both studios are asking the two in-demand, borderline A-list, stars to take pay cuts to accommodate a smaller budget for the fourth film.
Deals with fellow returning stars Zoe Saldana (Avengers: Infinity War), Zachary Quinto (Hotel Artemis), Karl Urban (Thor: Ragnarok), Simon Pegg (Mission: Impossible – Fallout), and John Cho (Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle) were expected to be finalized after both Pine and Hemsworth, but their statuses are now uncertain as well.
The sequel, which has tapped S.J. Clarkson (Marvel’s Jessica Jones) to direct, is reportedly not being put on hold, so expect a resolution of some sort in the not-so-distant future.