Between superhero movies, the upcoming revival of the Star Wars franchise and the preponderance of YA science fiction novel adaptations like Divergent and The Maze Runner headed to theaters over the next few years, the sci-fi genre is going to be pretty well served in the immediate future. Not to be left out, the rebooted Star Trek universe is also returning in 2016 with Star Trek 3, which will be directed by Justin Lin (Fast & Furious 6).
Actor Simon Pegg has been hired to draft a new version of Star Trek 3's script, but there's been no news yet about new actors being cast or what the plot might entail, aside from Karl Urban teasing that the concept for the next film is "phenomenal" - and Urban is probably a little biased.
We at least know when production is set to begin on Star Trek 3. On Location Vacations reports that the film's start date is April 15th, 2015, and that things will kick off at Vancouver Film Studios. Previously there have been claims that part of the shoot will take place in Seoul, South Korea, and that may still be true for some of the on-location work. When it comes to studio space, however, it looks like Vancouver won the raffle.
The previous two movies in the rebooted Star Trek franchise were filmed at Paramount Studios in Los Angeles, so the change of locale is most likely due to the hefty tax incentives offered in British Columbia (which have made Vancouver a popular destination for both film and TV productions). It makes sense that Paramount would try to rein in the budget of Star Trek 3 where possible; anything that cuts down the costs of such an effects-heavy movie is no doubt an attractive prospect.
Accompanying the news of Star Trek 3's filming start date is a report from Film Divider that claims to offer new information about the new characters that will be introduced in Lin's film. The plan, Film Divider claims, is to introduce three major new female characters: the captain of a Federation ship, the President of the United Federation of Planets, and Bones' ex-wife. The latter could be Jocelyn Treadway, Pamela Branch, or a new character entirely.
If the report is accurate, the addition of three new key female characters could do a lot to assuage the criticisms that were levied against Star Trek Into Darkness for having an overwhelmingly male cast - a situation not helped by the awkward fanservice-y misfire of having Carol Marcus strip down to her underwear and just sort of stand there while Captain Kirk and the camera gawped at her.
Film Divider's sources also indicate that the new villain will be a male character and that the studio is looking for a Bryan Cranston-esque actor to play him. In fact, Cranston himself has apparently "had words" about taking the role, but what those words were and which direction they took remains a mystery for now. If Cranston does get the role then hopefully he'll get a bit more screen time than he was given in Godzilla.
Star Trek 3 opens in U.S. theaters on July 8th, 2016.