It was earlier this year when Paramount Pictures set Star Trek (2009) and Star Trek Into Darkness co-screenwriter/producer Roberto Orci to make his directorial debut on the next Star Trek movie (currently known as Star Trek 3). However, over the past month or so, Orci has not only been replaced as helmsman by Justin Lin (Fast Five, Furious 6), but there's now additional evidence suggesting that the Orci co-penned Star Trek 3 script won't be used, as was first rumored shortly after Orci stepped down as director.
Orci's Star Trek 3 screenplay draft, which he completed alongside newcomers/up-and-comers John D. Payne and Patrick McKay earlier this year, is rumored to have revolved around a story where the Vulcans attempt to stop the destruction of their planet via time-travel (a plot device that would explain the return of William Shatner as (old) James Kirk from the original timeline). Paramount studio heads were apparently not so keen on this approach and thus, Orci dropped out out as director in response to these creative differences.
Badass Digest's Devin Faraci, who also provided the aforementioned (abandoned?) Star Trek 3 plot description, has maintained that the Orci/Payne/McKay script is being dropped since Orci left the director's chair on the project (see Faraci's relevant Tweet, below).
@thebagwellian no he's not. He's gone, his script is gone, he's got a producer credit but won't do anything.
— Devin Faraci (@devincf) December 6, 2014
Orci thereafter commented on the matter over at TrekMovie.com, claiming that "no time travel was ever considered" for Star Trek 3 and that he remains "very involved" with the project, which we assumed meant he is, in fact, still both producing and co-writing the project. However, in the comments section for TrekMovie's article on Lin joining the project, Orci clarified that when it comes to Star Trek 3 "I'm producing, [Nothing] more or less."
This week Paramount set Star Trek 3 to arrive in theaters in July 2016, meaning that production on the project ought to get underway around mid-2015; perhaps a bit later than the previously-expected Spring 2015 start, now that a fresh script is being cooked up. However, even if most of the original script draft winds up being jettisoned, Orci as well as Payne and McKay may still end up receiving screen story credit for their contributions to the U.S.S. Enterprise's next big-screen adventure.
On that note - Orci also commented that he doesn't know what the story for Star Trek 3 is going to be now, "but the story we are talking [about would] be awesome, hang in there!"
Orci has had a contentious relationship with many die-hard Star Trek fans for a while now, in no small part because of the creative decisions that he and his co-writer Alex Kurtzman (as well as producer/director, J.J. Abrams) made on the past two Star Trek movies. Those installments seemed to play well with both critics and filmgoers on the whole, though, and Orci once again defended the projects in his latest posting. For related reasons, though, some (many?) will be pleased to hear that Star Trek 3 is now moving in a different direction, with Orci gone as director.
... Question is, what direction is Star Trek 3 moving in now? Will Lin be making a Star Trek movie that takes its cues from Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy is terms of tone and design (as rumor has it Paramount wants)? And if not Orci and Co., then who is working on the film's screenplay? We ought to get an update on the writing situation with Star Trek 3 in the near future, so stay tuned for more information.
Star Trek 3 is scheduled to arrive in time to mark the Star Trek franchise's fiftieth anniversary, when it opens in theaters on July 8th, 2016.
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