Hollywood has been trying to make Chris Hemsworth happen for years, but despite an SMA title and being part of Marvel’s stable of Chrises, he has never caught on quite the way you’d expect. I’ve always said it—twenty years ago The Greater Hemsworth is a slam-dunk sell, but these days, he’s just one more beefcake body in superhero tights, among an army of beefcake bodies in superhero tights. But then he took a support role in Ghostbusters and held his own with some legit powerhouse comedic talent, and suddenly the answer is obvious: Chris Hemsworth should star in comedies. (There’s something coming down the pipe soon that will definitively prove this.) Despite the biceps and Aussie surfer vibe, he isn’t an action star. He’s a comedy grunt.
So it makes no sense at all that he’s going to co-star in Star Trek 4. Paramount announced this morning that Hemsworth will join Chris-version-Pine in the fourth Star Trek movie. There’s no director and no release date, but just days before Star Trek Beyond opens, they’re committing to another installment in the Trek franchise, which, let’s be honest, is not a barn burner.
At this point, Hemsworth has no real reason to go back to Star Trek—he cameoed in the 2009 reboot as Captain Kirk’s dad—and given his recent comedy epiphany, it feels like a step back. I assume the money is good—Hemsworth’s rep team are STONE COLD SHARKS—but what is in it for him beyond that? Another mediocre action movie is not going to do half of what Ghostbusters just did for him.
But what if this is going to reboot the reboot? What if Star Trek 4 is an undercover comedy, not unlike the current approach to Thor: Ragnarok? A few months ago, when people started seeing Ghostbusters, buzz started building that Hemsworth was really funny in it. And Marvel hired a comedy guy to handle Hemsworth’s next outing as Thor, and everyone went, “Huh?” Except that there was some low level smug coming from Marvel, like they had figured something out no one else had. And now I’m wondering if Paramount has cottoned on as well, that Chris Hemsworth should star in comedies. (Chris Pine, too, is an underused/appreciated comedic talent—he was one of the big surprises and joys of Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp.)
What if Star Trek 4 is a time-travelling road trip comedy in space? That has some potential. And let’s say it all comes together and this movie actually turns out good. Chris Hemsworth would get the credit for “saving” Star Trek. Maybe that’s lure enough.
Attached - Chris in Australia with wife Elsa Pataky last week.