[UPDATE: Filming on Star Trek 2 is expected to begin early Summer 2011, not in January. See the end of this article for details]
The as-yet untitled Star Trek sequel - which we will continue to refer to as Star Trek 2 for now - is on course to begin filming in January 2011, according to Bruce Greenwood (aka. the original Enterprise Captain, Christopher Pike).
Greenwood will grace the screen once again in next week's Dinner For Schmucks, but he has yet to learn about his future in the Star Trek franchise. His character played a pivotal role in director J.J. Abrams' series reboot but is not actually a member of the classic Star Trek crew - so his return is anything but assured at this point.
What is known about Star Trek 2 at this point is that the main Star Trek cast members - Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, etc. - are all set to reprise their roles; Damon Lindelof is working on the script alongside Alex Kurtzman and Robert Orci; and J.J. Abrams is still poised to direct the sequel, once he has completed work on Super 8.
Former Captain-turned-Admiral Pike could potentially become a powerful ally (or foe) of the young Captain Kirk (Pine), whose brash nature will undoubtedly lead him to continue butting heads with Starfleet authority figures in future installments. Greenwood (see below) was solid in the role and he has the support of most Star Trek fans so his return in the next film is possible.
The January start date is a good fit for the Star Trek cast and crew as well with their busy schedules. After all, Simon Pegg will probably be working on Mission: Impossible 4 this fall; Chris Pine is still prepped to play Jack Ryan in Moscow, which should begin production in the second half of 2011; and Zoe Saldana has at least another year before Avatar 2 gets underway. Scheduling production on Star Trek 2 for any time other than early 2011 may prove tricky at this point.
We should begin to find out some definite information concerning the plot of the Star Trek sequel over the upcoming months - for creativity's sake though, let's hope it doesn't involve time travel this time around.
UPDATE: Trekmovie.com caught up with Star Trek producer Bryan Burk earlier this month and learned that although pre-production on the sequel could begin in January 2011, shooting on the film is scheduled for late spring/early summer of that year. That would explain Greenwood's speculative comment.
Star Trek 2 is tentatively scheduled to arrive in theaters in the U.S. on June 29th, 2012.