After the cancellation of Enterprise, Paramount entertained several attempts to restart or to reboot the Star Trek franchise. Ultimately, director J. J. Abrams was successful, using a smart new approach — not to reboot the series, exactly, but to set his new movies in an alternate universe, parallel to the long-established one. To connect the two, his first film (2009, titled simply Star Trek) featured Spock and a new villain (Nero) plucked from the original timeline after the events of the Next Generation era. This provided a symbolic passing of the torch. The movie proved the most successful Star Trek film to date at the box office. Star Trek was back.
A sequel, Star Trek into Darkness (also directed by Abrams), followed in 2013. Although it performed well at the box office, it was ridiculed by many critics, including Star Trek fans. A third film, Star Trek Beyond (directed by Justin Lin), followed in 2016. Although it was praised as better than the previous film, it performed worse at the box office.
Leonard Nimoy, who had portrayed Spock in the original series and who played Spock-Prime in the first two films, died between the second and third film. Actor Anton Yelchin, who played Checkov in the new continuity, died after filming the third film but before its release.
Paramount has struggled to continue the series. After the third film, Abrams announced there would be a fourth and that it would feature Chris Hemsworth, who would return as Kirk’s father, George Kirk, having played that character in the prologue to the first Abrams film. In December 2017, news broke that celebrated director Quentin Tarantino had pitched a Star Trek film, which would feature the Abrams cast and which was being developed independently of the previously announced fourth film. In August 2018, news broke that Chris Pine (who plays Kirk) and Hemsworth had walked out of negotiations to appear in the fourth film, reportedly due to Paramount wishing to negotiate lower acting fees to reflect the decreased box office of the third installment. In January 2019, Paramount cancelled the fourth film as it had been developed. In May 2019, Tarrantino confirmed that a script had been written for his Star Trek film, but in December, he confirmed that he would not direct it. Although Paramount has stated that it intends on continuing the film series, no clear plan seems to be in place as of early 2020.