A lot of fans were worried when news came out that Chris Pine had stepped down from Star Trek 4, but producer Adi Shankar thinks that a Trek film without Kirk can still work.
Talking to ScreenRant, Shankar says:
"Losing Pine and Kirk is not a big deal and kind of cool. Actors don't matter, stories do. This is the universe presenting an opportunity to do something different and boldly go where no suits have gone before."
Though Shankar’s optimism is admirable, a lot of fans have spoken out about Pine leaving. Kevin Smith, for one, is convinced that Trek 4 can’t happen without Pine onboard. Though a lot of people love Zachary Quinto’s Spock, Pine’s Kirk is undoubtedly the face of the Star Trek films since 2009.
Personally, I hope Pine (and even Hemsworth) considers coming back. The crew had already lost actor Anton Yelchin back in 2016, meaning that there’s already a hole in the cast. Just imagine what the audience will think when the leading character is gone. That’s like Harry Potter without Harry or Star Wars without Luke Skywalker.
There has been no announced release date for Star Trek 4.