‘Star Trek 3′: Kurtzman & Orci Back as Writers; New Director Rumors Surface

Published 2 years ago by , Updated May 3rd, 2014 at 7:41 am,

Star Trek Into Darkness Kirk Spock Black Shirts 570x311 Star Trek 3: Kurtzman & Orci Back as Writers; New Director Rumors Surface

Back in 2009, J.J. Abrams directed the Star Trek script from Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci – Abrams’ previous collaborators on the Alias and Fringe TV shows – and, in the process, they managed to breath new life into the geek-favorite sci-fi franchise. The trio collaborated with screenwriter Damon Lindelof (Lost) on the followup, known as Star Trek Into Darkness - with the final movie result proving to be another critical and financial success.

However, it’s seemed for some time now that an Abrams/Kurtzman/Orci reunion on Star Trek 3 might not be in the cards. The former is currently busy gearing up to start principal photography on Star Wars: Episode VII, with a Summer 2015 release date target. Meanwhile, rumors surfaced last month that the in-demand Kurtzman/Orci duo will only produce the next Star Trek installment, with scripting duties being reassigned to Thor and X-Men: First Class writing pair Ashley Miller and Zach Stentz instead.

The latest report from Heat Vision is that Kurtzman and Orci are in negotiations to write Star Trek 3, though the site claims that Lindelof is not expected to return with them. That makes sense, given that Kurtzman and Orci are serving as the producers on a handful of developing projects – including The Mummy reboot and the Sleepy Hollow TV series – but do not have a high-priority script in the works right now. By comparison, Lindelof has spent the last several months putting the finishing touches on the Tomorrowland script and is mapping out The Leftovers TV series, possibly with a 2014 premiere date in mind.

Lindelof dropped a few hints about what to expect from Star Trek 3, before Into Darkness opened in U.S. theaters. However, the rebooted Star Trek timeline is the brain-child of Kurtzman/Orci, so their involvement with the impending third chapter feels more like a necessity than Lindelof’s – not least of all because the next Star Trek movie is going to have a brand-new story – as opposed to the Wrath of Khan-inspired twists and turns from Into Darkness – which is something that Orci told us about on the Star Trek Into Darkness episode of the Screen Rant Underground Podcast.

jj abrams star trek 3 director Star Trek 3: Kurtzman & Orci Back as Writers; New Director Rumors Surface

Although the writer situation for Star Trek 3 now appears to be settled, the search for a director is still ongoing. Abrams has been hesitant to formally bow out as a contender, but the strong possibility of a 2016 release date – to coincide with the Star Trek franchise’s 50th anniversary – would make it difficult (albeit, not impossible) for Abrams to juggle his Star Wars duties with directing the next Star Trek film.

Early on, Joe Cornish – writer/director of Attack the Block and co-screenwriter for Marvel’s Ant-Man – was floated as a possible replacement helmer for Abrams on Star Trek 3. Right now, Latino Review is reporting that Jon M. Chu (G.I. Joe: Retaliation) is the current “top contender” to direct the next Star Trek installment. However, the G.I. Joe filmmaker’s reps have reached out and claimed that Chu has not yet been formally contacted nor approached by Paramount and/or the Trek franchise producers at this stage – though, that does rule out the possibility that the studio is considering Chu for the Star Trek 3 job.

In related news: Cinematallica is asserting that Rupert Wyatt is “virtually a lock at this stage in the game” to sign on and direct Star Trek 3, which is said to gel with what Collider‘s Steve “Frosty” Weintraub has been hearing in recent weeks. Wyatt broke out with the financial/critical hit blockbuster Rise of the Planet of the Apes, but ended up passing on the sequel Dawn of the Planet of the Apes – supposedly, because he wanted additional time to make the latter film than Fox would allow.

The Equalizer Rupert Wyatt Star Trek 3: Kurtzman & Orci Back as Writers; New Director Rumors Surface

Wyatt circled The Equalizer (starring Denzel Washington) earlier this year, but ended up passing on the project. The former is reported to be attached as director on titles like the sci-fi thriller Agent 13 (with Charlize Theron headlining) and the WWI drama Birdsong, but something like Star Trek 3 would take precedent over either of those films. Not to mention, the previously-referenced prospective 2016 release date should allow for a more relaxed pre-production timeline than Wyatt had faced on the Apes sequel (translation: he might be more inclined to agree and make this particular sci-fi blockbuster installment).

Having said all that: there’s still an (increasingly-slim) chance that Abrams could wind up directing Star Trek 3, especially if Zachary Quinto (who plays young Spock in the rebooted continuity) is correct about that still being Abrams’ plan. You might recall that it took Abrams quite a while to officially commit to directing Star Trek Into Darkness, as he (essentially) waited until the eleventh hour to do so - could history repeat itself with Star Trek 3?

Do you want Paramount to accommodate Abrams so he can direct Star Trek 3, seeing how Kurtzman and Orci are returning? Or would you rather see a different filmmaker be given the reins to this project?


Star Trek 3 (not the official title) currently does not have a release date.

Source: THR, Latino Review, /FilmCinematallica, Collider

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  1. Sort this out so Karl Urban has time to play the new Batman!

  2. Considering the financial success of the last two installments I suspect that Paramount would be willing to work with J.J. in terms of directing Star Trek 3 if he decided he wanted to. At the end of the day, it is all about the return on investment for the studios. Personally, I’m open for a different director taking the helm if he/she is up to the task and doesn’t deliver a flop for the third installment.

  3. And supposedly Lindelof’s out this time around, right…?

  4. I love Abrams. His projects are good, but not great. Not like Nolan or old school Spielberg. The writing duo are good as well, except for the Transformers movies that need some work. I just want a orginal story next.

    No way, Ryan Gosling for Batman. Urban was weak in Into Darkness. That accent made my scene crawl. He is a fine actor, but his movies really bomb and I am a fan of Dredd and even Chronicles of Riddick.

    • “Urban was weak in Into Darkness. That accent made my scene crawl.”


    • Are you seriously wanting Ryan gosling for batman???? I think he’s outstanding…..but the next batman, he is not!

  5. Oh dear.

    Well at least we know that there WILL be a Star Trek 3.

    I’d say it would be pretty doubtful that Abrams will direct since he will be busy with SW Ep 7.

    But he and his Bad Robot can still produce.

    Still, it’s pretty frustrating that Star Trek Into Darkness under performed at the box office. The flick was one of the best of the summer, next to MAN OF STEEL.

    • those were my 2 favorites of the summer as well, in that same order

      • + 1,111,111,111,111

    • Under-performed??? 2nd Highest grossing ST film of all time dude. Id call that a win.

      • Highest grossing world wide.

      • I hear you.

        I should have qualified my comment by adding that it made a bit less than it’s predecessor.

        It’s made more than half a billion and obviously it’s a moderate success.

        Domestically it’s # 7 but I felt it was so good and that it was not appreciated completely by the casual movie going audience. I’ve actually spoken to A LOT of Star Trek devotees who weren’t happy with it.

        My frustration is that you have these inferior flicks like IM3 and F and F 6 that did a whole lot better at the BO than “Into Darkness.”

        This 2013 summer movie season has been erratic to say the least.

        Wait another 3 days: “Elysium” is NOT gonna do well. There are factions of people out there that are angry and bitter and just don’t want Elysium to fail.

        • Edit

          * …and just want “Elysium” to fail.

          ( still waiting for that “edit” option button, Screen Rant! )

        • > I’ve actually spoken to A LOT of Star Trek devotees who weren’t
          > happy with it.

          That’s my conclusion as well, after visiting several Trek related websites (I was also disappointed in the film).

          I’d call the split 60/40, with 60% happy with the film, and the other 40% unhappy or thought the film was just OK. For the casual fan, it probably did well, although not well enough to improve the overall box office of the film.

          • i thoroughly enjoyed the flick. i’ve seen every star trek movie and show at least 10 times. i’ve even read some of the books. i think the reboot is great because you can really tell the people making them take pride in their star trek knowledge. a lot of hints and bread crumbs everywhere, and they even explain their reasoning behind everything, referencing other star trek histories, as every star trek should do. but that’s just my geeky side talking. what i’m very impressed about is how the story has evolved with the times. if you watched the TOS now, you will notice alot of what society at that time was dealing with. as time changes and societies change, this reboot also reflects this social dynamic… and that’s at the heart of what the Roddenberry Vision was/is for star trek. also, it’s a true saying about the reboot “seeking out new life and new civilizations, boldly going where no one has gone before.” (i say this whilst smoking a doobie). besides, it’s not the first time a new universe was created in star trek (mirror, mirror);P

  6. JJ will never be able to devote enough time to making it great with Star Wars on his plate

    time for new blood

    As long as Damon L isn’t writing it should be great

  7. I’d rather have another director (Matthew Vaughn) for Star Wars, then J.J can go back directing Star Trek. I know that’s not gonna happen.

    • I was really hoping that Matthew Vaughn would get the assignment too & he WAS one of the finalists. For all we know if Abrams hadn’t accepted it WOULD have been Vaughn although Jon Favreau was pushing for it in a big way too. Vaughn has had a mightily impressive record so far & to date there’s only one of his films that I wasn’t even interested in seeing because it sounded so bad, “Stardust” to be exact. (I’ve yet to see “Layer Cake” but I’m sure that it’ll be AT LEAST impressive.) I wonder if all of these great directors who were gung ho for Episode 7 (Speaking of “Gung Ho” How about Ron Howard? He DID direct “Willow” fairly well!) will still be interested in or considered for Episode 8? Or Episode 9?

      • Stardust was awesome…I love that movie! People don’t give it enough credit because of the fairy tale/romance elements, but it had a great storyline with good acting and good cinematography. Don’t knock it til you’ve seen it.

  8. This series despite all its reference-dropping still hasn’t reached anything resembling a level of depth at which it would seem worthwhile to discuss how miserably it’s failed artistically.

    • Yeah, this emperor is as naked as the day he was born. As in, he’s not wearing any clothes. As in, these new star trek movies are terrible. As in, I don’t get why people can’t admit it “hey, these movies are terrible…”. Yeah, the emperor looks splendid, alright. He just happens to be butt naked?

      • I think annyone with a brain can admit the new movies are a discrace to space. Even tho it might reach a wider audiance short turm, they wont be reanacting the new movies on holodec’s.

  9. Not Kurtzman & Orci again… they have the character interaction stuff down pretty well, granted, but as far as plot cohesiveness, logic and research is concerned, they are incredibly lazy. The can’t even be bothered to read up what a black hole is and they keep taking cheap shortcuts to move the plot along. It’s time that we get some writers on the new Star Trek who take the story seriously. Yes, that rules out Lindelof, because he’s cut from the same cloth as K & O.

    • *I meant supernova, not black hole.

      • I’m still waiting for someone to explain to me how a supernova can destroy an entire galaxy.

        • Supernova would expand within a galaxy, super heating all planets to the core, oceans would boil. Life would cease to exist in that galaxy. If our Sun were to go nova, it would set fire to the first 6 planets till it died out.

          You are mistaken Galaxy for Universe.A Galaxy is a set area of space bound by select stars, gravitational forces and remnants.

          Once you get pass the point of a Galaxy, you are traveling the universe, till the next galaxy.


          • Supernovae simply aren’t that powerful. Otherwise we would have been gone a loooooong time ago, because there happen about 3 supernovae per century in our galaxy.

          • Uh, dude, a galaxy is made of billions of stars, and the universe is made of billions upon billions of galaxies. Saying that a supernova could destroy the galaxy would be like saying a grain of sand exploding would destroy the Earth.

            • Yeah, he is mistaking a solar system for a galaxy. Sure, a supernova would obliterate a solar system, but it wouldn’t even put a dent in a galaxy. Two very different things.

  10. I’ve never been too impressed with these guys. I was kinda hoping that Star Trek would get some entirely new blood.

  11. First off, Damon Lindelof is out, which is good, since I disagreed with his inclusion/version of Khan into the new universe.

    Second, I’d prefer new writers for ST3 rather than Orci/Kurzman again, but will learn to accept it if they come back (it is their baby, after all).

    Finally, a quote from Karl Urban from IGN:

    As to what he’d like to see for the third film, Urban said, “What I really believe we should do now is strive for originality. Because in Star Trek Into Darkness we took one of the most revered and loved adversaries of the Enterprise and put him in there, and did a story that had all of these wonderful nods to films from the past, and episodes from the past. I really think that what we should do from here, in my personal opinion, is strive to be original. Strive to be something different and new. You know, let’s not forget that Star Trek as envisioned was about space exploration. And it would be really wonderful to harness the spirit of that and apply it to the next film, so that we do something different than a revenge-based picture.”

    ^^THIS. Anything that brings this about, as opposed to rehashed ideas and homages. New writers and directors are always welcome.

    • Exactamundo! Urban is the man!

      • Agree on that!
        As a matter of fact, I’d go as to say I’d vertically flip that “b” and insert an “m”. Urban… u (you) – r (are) – d (The) – Man!

  12. I think they should let J.J. Abrams finish the trilogy at anytime he can, whether that’s 2016 or 2020. I’m glad that Alex Kurtzman and Rob Orci are back to write this one. I really liked Star Trek Into Darkness so I have no problem waiting for the next one as long as it’s just as good or even better. If Paramount wants to do something special for the anniversary they should just work on creating a new Star Trek series. If Star Trek 3 comes out in 2019 it will still make the 40th anniversary of the Motion Picture and that seems just as good and makes more sense to me.

  13. Doesn’t this situation remind anyone of Singer and X-men 3/ Superman Returns??? I bring this up because look how that turned out, Returns sucked!!! I have a very BAD FEELING ABOUT THIS!!! ;) I don’t want history repeating itself, JJ should stick with Trek…

  14. I think Wayatt would be excellent for taking over Star Trek 3

  15. Orci & Kurtzman back as writers? Make it NOT so! This news has my anticipation for ST3 DISENGAGED.

    They can write superficial summer movie stories but now the franchise needs writers that do that plus add some layers of depth to a Star Trek movie.

    Given the current creative crew complement the best this franchise can do in charting a compelling course is, ‘Unsteady as she goes.’

    Set phasers for disappointed.

  16. “You know, let’s not forget that Star Trek as envisioned was about space exploration. And it would be really wonderful to harness the spirit of that and apply it to the next film, so that we do something different than a revenge-based picture”

    Damnit Jim – Get Urban to write/direct the next picture!

    At last, somebody on the new team who gets it ;)

    Do something original. Something non-revenge themed. No space battles. EXPLORATION.


    What frustrates me about these films, as we have the FX tech these days to put just about anything on film. We could really explore some far out alien lifeforms, and worlds, and space. Do the things they didn’t have the budget for in the 60s, but certainly had the IDEAS for…!

    Get a proper science-fiction writer in to craft the story, get others in if required to punch up the dialogue. But please no more glorified fanboy writers! Blockbuster films are suffering for this reason these days – pale imitations of past cinematic glories with OTT FX in virtually every shot.

    Let’s go back to STORY & CHARACTERS first, FX and eye candy second.

    Hoping film no.3 takes some risks by having a script that makes people THINK……

  17. The supernova, created by the immense-gravity-caused-implosion’s outward-rebounding shockwave, occurring subsequent to the immense nuclear compression at the core, and containing most of the rare elements in the cosmos, would mostly consist of a gamma ray-burst.
    (No reports exist of how far the “force field” effects reach out to nearby members of the galaxy .)

  18. Yes to Abrams only!!! He is the only one who can do the job as well as it has been done so far. 1 and 2 were amazing and I would like to see a continuation of JJ Abrams great film making style to this amazing franchise.

  19. The current team has done a good job casting and making Star Trek look great, and their two films have been exciting from an action standpoint.

    But other than that, I absolutely want to see new blood, ESPECIALLY in the writing. I am thoroughly unconvinced that Kurtzman, Orci (and Lindelof) are the right guys to give us a well-written, genuinely great Star Trek film. They do not seem to truly respect or understand Star Trek. At this point they are simply selling themselves based on their box-office success.

  20. Of course no more Abrams. A director who prefers to direct a bunch of teen actors rather than Patric Steward … . I think the latest Abrams movie could have been titled Iron Man 7, it just was not star trek. Abrams first Trek movie had one of the most pathetic scene in cinema: “the birth of Kirk while spacebattle on the comlink”-Scene.
    Startrek is about smart villains like Dukat and Tomalak about Space ships with carpets and diplomacy. Abrams movie had bearded Romulans, cars driving through the desert and space ships with an apple design.
    Please go back to the original timeline for the 50 birthday.

  21. It would be a pity to lose the magic touch that JJA has brought. There have been too many examples of excellence being diluted and compromised by less able direction.

  22. My idea for the the 50th star Trek anniversary is this- The arch enemies of the original series ban together to destroy the Federation and the galaxy is on the verge of inter -galactic war but are forced to join together and form an alliance against a far greater threat to them all. Characters, races, and beings from the later generations travel through time to get involved and the planet Vulcan is saved. Only then will the universe be back in order.

  23. Perhaps it is time for Will Weaton to leave The Big Bang Theory and put on the uniform of Captain Crusher or maybe Admiral Picard can save the day. Perhaps Nimoy could finally die saving Vulcan – after all he is getting old – even for a Vulcan. Let’s Demand from Paramount an unforgettable 50th anniversary bash!

  24. In my opinion with the timeline change from into darkness. This allows a lot of freedom for an entire new storyline. Many more great films to be produced. Either way on producers I believe there can be alot more done with this.

  25. Is it not customary for the actor who played the character that died in the previous movie to direct the sequel? That would make it Chris Pine by my reckoning.

  26. I hope we won’t see any more ST movies crap in the future. What I want to see is a new ST series, following the spirit of classic series, like TOS, TNG and of course Voyager.

  27. Didn’t kurtzman get killed in the x files?

  28. Oh I had so hoped they would pulp that intelligence insulting reboot.

  29. I am proud to call my self a Trekkie, I attend conventions, dress up and I even have “Live Long and Prosper” tattooed on my back. My family however, despite my best efforts, will watch the occasional episode but have never embraced the Star Trek world as I have. My husband took me along to the premier of Star Trek in London last night and thank you JJ you converted him in one film, I have been trying for 25 years! What JJ Abrams has done is create a film that can be enjoyed by all, its irrelevant whether or not you have seen Star Trek before, this film stands alone as brilliant entertainment. There are plenty of references to the original series to keep the fans happy. Of course there are going to be the “hard core” fans who will criticize certain aspects. I enjoyed seeing the lead actors imitate the characteristics of the original crew, Karl Urban as Dr Mcoy was particularly good. Good story line, plenty of humour, non-stop fast action, fantastic special effects, great acting from all the main “crew”, Zacchary Quinto and Chris Pine especially. Can’t wait for the next one to see more in-depth character development (of all the characters, not just Kirk and Spock and a moral dilemma which is at the heart of the best Star Trek. Film fans are going to love this film and that means Star Trek Lives Long and Prospers!