Chris Hemsworth may have only appeared for a few minutes in J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek, and was swiftly killed off in the opening scene, but the unknown actor still managed to leave an impression as the doomed George Kirk. As far as feature film debuts go, there are much worse places to make them than the beginning of a $150 million sci-fi blockbuster that rebooted a beloved property for modern audiences.
Almost exactly one month to the day after Star Trek was released into theaters in May 2009, Chris Hemsworth was announced to be playing the title character in Marvel Studios’ fourth self-produced feature Thor, and it would be underselling it to say that the rest is history, with the actor now firmly established as the MCU’s elder statesman following the conclusion of the Infinity Saga, not to mention his status as one of Hollywood’s highest-paid stars.
His contributions to Star Trek may have been brief, but it set him on the path to major success, and Kirk Sr.’s sacrifice ultimately informs the entire narrative, inspiring Chris Pine’s James Tiberius to enlist in the Starfleet Academy. There was a degree of backlash towards the project when it was gearing up to hit the big screen, with longtime fans feeling slighted by the “This Is Not Your Dad’s Star Trek” marketing push, which they felt was offensive to longtime enthusiasts of the various big and small screen variations to have rolled out since the 1960s.
It’s still a solid reintroduction that blows the cobwebs off the property in suitably spectacular fashion, though, and Star Trek is now streaming on Netflix for those who want to revisit the opener while we all wait to find out if the fourth installment in the Kelvin timeline is ever going to happen.