The upcoming Star Trek 3 seemed to be on a nice, smooth road to an April 2015 production start in order to make a 2016 theatrical release, but the film hit a major roadblock a few weeks back when Roberto Orci (who was set to make the project his directorial debut) left the captain's chair; though, he's still remaining involved with the project. Since then, Paramount has been on the hunt for a replacement, with names such as Daniel Espenosa (Safe House) and Morten Tydlum (The Imitation Game) popping up on the studio's wish list.
Also included among those names was Justin Lin, the helmsman who has called the shots on four installments of the Fast & Furious franchise. Apparently, he's the "right" director the producing team has been looking for, as he is now set to direct Star Trek 3.
Deadline broke the story, saying that he was the only filmmaker from the earlier rumors to be officially offered the gig. Lin will have free time on his schedule once he wraps up the first couple of episodes for True Detective season two, since his Bourne Legacy sequel was delayed to make way for the new Jason Bourne-centric entry that Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass are working on for a July 2016 release.
You may recall that a while back, Lin was reportedly being eyed by Universal to direct a multi-part finale for the Fast and Furious franchise, but the fate of that project remains up in the air. Since it's unknown when Fast 8 will be released, Lin could theoretically take that job on, but the nature of a "multi-part" film shoot could lead to a very lengthy production process that spans several months. Depending on when Universal wants to get that out, it's possible the two movies will be filming at the same time.
This news will surely be disappointing to those moviegoers who had the fanboy fantasy of geek-favorite director Edgar Wright taking the reins and getting his shot to blend his unique style with a big-budget production, but Lin is a very solid choice. He's credited with renewing interest in the Fast series, particularly with 2011's Fast Five, which took the franchise in a new direction (heist movie) and delivered the genre action thrills audiences love in a fun and entertaining way.
Lin has displayed some versatility on his résumé; among his other credits are three episodes of NBC's Community, including the famous "paintball episode" titled "Modern Warfare". That aforementioned episode illustrated Lin's strengths at handling an action/comedy, which would definitely jive with the current Trek tone (which is arguably more light-hearted than other titles). If Paramount wants Star Trek 3 to resemble Guardians of the Galaxy, Lin could make that work well.
Lin taking on a large-scale sci-fi project is just another step down his career path, which of late has seen him challenging himself as an artist. He's carved out a nice niche as an action filmmaker with his Fast films, but between his history with a well-received sitcom and trying his hand at the crime drama True Detective, Lin is seemingly interested in stretching his talents to span multiple types of projects.
As such, it will be interesting to see what he does playing in this sandbox. As we've said before, since this is the third feature in the rebooted Trek series, there is an established aesthetic Lin will have to replicate, but he will surely put his own touches on the material. Even if he wasn't your first choice, take solace in the fact that Lin is an experienced helmsman (unlike the rookie Orci), who has dealt with large budgets and franchises before. He should be comfortable on the set, which will be all for the better.
Star Trek 3 should be in theaters some time in 2016.
Follow Chris on Twitter @ChrisAgar90.