[RE-UPDATE: It looks as though Justin Lin will be directing Star Trek 3.]
Paramount is searching for a top choice to direct the next Star Trek movie, with the intention of getting the film in theaters in time for the sci-fi property's 50th anniversary in 2016. It would appear that the screenplay co-penned by Roberto Orci - who we reported had stepped down as director earlier this month - is still being used (despite rumors suggesting otherwise); and thus, now the project needs a helmsman to keep it on course to make a mid-2015 production start.
Edgar Wright was floated as being a possibly shortly after Orci departed, but he's nowhere to be found on the new Star Trek 3 potential helmsman roster. In addition to Wyatt, the list includes Duncan Jones (Moon, Source Code), Daniel Espinosa (Safe House), Justin Lin (Fast Five, Furious 6), and Morten Tyldum; the latter is one of this awards season's breakout directors, for his work on the now Golden Globe-Nominated Alan Turing drama, The Imitation Game.
Jones is a promising candiate to direct Star Trek 3, but the continuing post-production for Warcraft (which may go on throughout 2015) might prevent him from being able to guide the U.S.S. Enterprise's next space mission. Espionsa, in addition to being a less exciting possibility than Jones, may nonetheless also not be available for Star Trek 3, seeing as he's already lined up to next direct the Boston Marathon bombing drama, Boston Strong.
UPDATE: Jones has gone ahead and taken himself out of the running to direct Star Trek 3:
Very flattering being on short list for Star Trek, but won't be doing it. Absolutely MUST make my own thing next, or I'll die of old age!
— Duncan Jones (@ManMadeMoon) December 15, 2014
Lin will be free after he finishes directing the first two episodes of True Detective season 2 in early 2015, since his Bourne Legacy sequel (originally scheduled for 2016) has been put on the back-burner by Universal, while actor Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass make Bourne 5 first. However, Universal is also reportedly looking to hire on Lin to direct two final installments in the Fast and the Furious series; as Lin only passed on Furious 7 due to the quick turn-around after Furious 6, he might well be more inclined to finish the franchise that he made his name with, rather than jump ship (no pun intended) to Star Trek at this stage.
Tyldum is an interesting choice, seeing as Imitation Game has been praised as much for being a terse Cold War thriller/drama as it has an insightful biopic; though, that film's cinematic shortcomings (as highlighted in our review) raise doubt about him delivering satisfying action with Star Trek 3. Last, but not least, there's Wyatt, whose Gambler remake hasn't generated the expected awards season buzz, but who did indeed demonstrate a knack for smart sci-fi thrills with his Planet of the Apes movie.
Some of the directors that Paramount and J.J. Abrams - who is still producing Star Trek 3 even as he oversees post-production on Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens - are reported to be looking at seem like long-shots; all five of them have their strengths, though, and could bring something interesting to the table for Trek. It shouldn't be long before a front-runner emerges, seeing as this project is very much a priority for the studio behind it.
Star Trek 3 is expected to reach theaters in 2016; we'll let you know if that changes.
Update source: Duncan Jones