Update: Star Trek 3 cast gets raises as Chris Pine & Zachary Quinto sign on for Star Trek 4.

The crew of the USS Enterprise have trekked into darkness, and now they’re getting ready to trek beyond (according to the rumored title, anyway) in Star Trek 3, the next instalment of the rebooted movie franchise that has thus far been helmed by J.J. Abrams. The director of the previous two Star Trek films is busy with another sci-fi franchise, so Fast and Furious 6 director Justin Lin is taking over for Star Trek 3.

The sequel will see Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto reprise their roles as James T. Kirk and Spock, respectively. Other returning cast members include Karl Urban, Simon Pegg and Zoe Saldana, and Idris Elba (Pacific Rim) will star as the new villain. With all the pieces in place, we can confirm that production on Star Trek 3 has now begun.

Star Trek 3 cast members have been spotted arriving in Vancouver over the past week, right on schedule for the start of filming, and Quinto and Saldana have been teasing the start of production on social media. In memory of the late Leonard Nimoy, who reprised his role as ‘Spock Prime’ in the last two Star Trek movies, Quinto posted a photo of his freshly plucked eyebrows on Instagram, as well as another image of him sporting Spock’s distinctive hairstyle. Meanwhile, Saldana shared a self-explanatory shot of herself sitting in a trailer, getting ready for a day of filming.

someone is preparing to emerge.

A photo posted by Zachary Quinto (@zacharyquinto) on

Star Trek 3 was originally supposed to begin filming in April, but a last-minute change of director and a complete overhaul of the script meant that development essentially had to start again from scratch six months before the start of production. The movie is set to hit theaters just a little over a year from now, and with the amount of post-production work that will be involved this is probably the very latest that filming could have begun.

The Star Trek movies so far have been a rough prequel to the original TV show (which itself exists in a parallel universe), but Star Trek 3 will see Captain Kirk and his crew finally embark on their five year mission, exploring new worlds and meeting new species as they set out into the unknown corners of the galaxy. For many fans, this spirit of adventure and journeying into the unknown will be the real test of whether the big-budget rebooted universe can recreate the magic of the old Star Trek episodes.

It really will be a test, because when Pegg – who co-wrote the revamped script with Doug Jung – discussed Paramount Pictures’ reasons for ordering the rewrite, he suggested that the studio’s issue was that the original script was “too Star Trek-y.” Does this mean that Star Trek 3 won’t be actually be all that Star Trek-y? Is Star Trekkiness even quantifiable? We’ll have to wait and see.

Star Trek 3 will arrive in theaters on July 8, 2016.

Source: Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana