With J.J. Abrams currently deep into directing Star Wars: Episode VII, Paramount has turned to Roberto Orci, co-writer and producer of Star Trek (2009) and Star Trek Into Darkness, to direct what we still only know as Star Trek 3, set to release in 2016 to coincide with the franchise’s 50th anniversary.

With Orci’s previous regular collaborator Alex Kurtzman busy preparing to direct Universal’s The Mummy reboot and Into Darkness co-writer Damon Lindelof currently running his HBO series The Leftovers, Orci has teamed up with screenwriters Patrick McKay and J.D. Payne (the same pair who have been working on a Flash Gordon reboot for 20th Century Fox) to pen the next Star Trek film.

Now, Orci has taken to the comments section of TrekMovie (via CBM) to report that they have finished the first draft of the Star Trek 3 script, saying first:

p & m & I wrote, “fade out” yesterday on first draft. things are moving.

And then following up with the confirmation that:

First draft is done

The “p & m” presumably refer to Payne and McKay. While hardcore Trek fans remain divided over both the direction of this rebooted continuity and the arguably clunky attempt to connect to the earlier Trek films with inclusions of relatively under-developed versions of some classic characters, both Abrams films have been wildly lucrative and successful in drawing a whole new crowd for all things Star Trek.

The selection of the third Star Trek film’s director was a closely-watched process, as interesting filmmakers like Attack the Block‘s Joe Cornish were (at some point) approached for the job. Paramount ultimately went with Orci, a newcomer to feature directing but a veteran of several popular, successful franchises and properties (Transformers, Fringe) – and as our current Scotty Simon Pegg has explained, Orci was “always the most Trekkie of all of those guys anyway.”

In the months leading up to the script’s completion, Orci continually teased that Star Trek 3 would take place “in deep space” as a part of the Enterprise’s five-year mission; that was the basis for the original Star Trek TV series and the point in time where Into Darkness left off. In Orci’s Screen Rant Underground Podcast interview, he also hinted that the next film would move past nods to older Trek lore and into some truly uncharted territory.

While some fans still haven’t forgotten Orci’s baffling and ill-advised lecturing to fans who questioned his story choices, the influx of newcomers Payne and McKay and a different director could mean some very exciting and engaging things for the future of the crew of the Enterprise. With the first script draft complete – and at least some version of the sequel’s story in place – we might expect some plot details to surface as the director and writers continue to make forward progress.

Star Trek 3 is expected to open in theaters in 2016.

Source: TrekMovie