Production on the tentatively-titled Star Trek 2 was at one point scheduled to begin by either Spring or Summer 2011. However, due to factors like an extended screenwriting process and (primarily) director J.J. Abrams being busy putting the finishing touches on Super 8, filming on the sci-fi sequel ended up being delayed.
Jump ahead to late 2011 and the sci-fi sequel has (finally) officially been pushed back to an unspecified 2013 release date. On the plus side: an actual production start date has been announced, along with additional information concerning the state of the highly-anticipated film's script, and some of the shooting locations that may serve as various (exotic and Earth-bound) locales of the Star Trek universe.
Trekmovie has learned that principal photography on Star Trek 2 is scheduled to get going by January 15th, 2012 - more than four years after filming began on Abrams' original reboot. Nonetheless, the news is sure to be welcomed by many a fan who has been anxiously awaiting the arrival of the U.S.S. Enterprise's next cinematic adventure.
When Abrams officially committed to directing the Star Trek sequel, it was mentioned that scribers Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, and Damon Lindelof would soon have a shooting script (based on their 70-page plot outline) ready to go. However, Orci informed Trekmovie that the Star Trek 2 screenplay has actually been complete "for a while" and that he and his fellow scripters are currently revising their 3rd draft; apparently, the only writing work left to be done involves making sure the film will meet the budget Paramount has settled on. The original Trek reboot came with a $150 million price tag, so it stands to reason that the sequel is being designed to cost a (relatively) similar amount.
Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) has already begun working on certain digital effects shots (ex. starships, planets) in Star Trek 2 that will not incorporate any live-action elements, so as to ensure that post-production on the film can be completed in a timely, but not hurried, manner. Likewise, most of the practical sets and elements used in the 2009 Trek flick (ex. the "renovated" Enterprise interior, Starfleet uniforms) have been preserved and are going to be re-used in the followup.
The majority of Star Trek 2 will be shot on sound stages on the Paramount lot. However, Abrams is currently scouting real-life locations to "play" the following:
- A "jungle planet" that bears a resemblance to the undeveloped regions of Hawaii (that's where Abrams traveled recently)
- A "famous Star Trek location" that looks to be brought to life by a museum in Los Angeles
While there are no substantial rumors yet about what worlds or locations may show up in the Star Trek sequel, the film (as a whole) is described as being much "bigger" in scope and scale than its predecessor. So, rest assured, there will be plenty of cool new extraterrestrial eye candy on display.
A lot of Trek fans have (understandably) been frustrated with the relatively slow-as-molasses pace that Star Trek has had making its way down the production pipeline at, especially in comparison to many other blockbuster sequels.
It is nonetheless assuring to hear that the film's screenplay has been thoroughly reworked and refined to (hopefully) perfection, the complex CGI and important visual effects aren't being rushed through development, and that pretty much all the same ingredients (cast, creative team, even sets/costumes) that worked well in the Trek reboot are being used again in the followup. So, all in all: things are looking quite good right now.
We will continue to keep you posted on the status of Star Trek 2, and let you know when it has both an official title and theatrical release date.