It's been a busy 24 hours for Trekkies, now that the next installment in the rebooted Star Trek film continuity - referred to simply as Star Trek 3 for now - has found its new director, in Fast and the Furious series helmsman Justin Lin. Paramount has now settled on a Summer 2016 release date for the film; meaning, the U.S.S. Enterprise's next big screen voyage will arrive in time to celebrate the Star Trek property's fiftieth anniversary, as has been planned for some time now.
Roberto Orci, who co-wrote and produced the last two Star Trek films, stepped down as director on Star Trek 3 a few weeks ago, and his departure was followed by rumors that Paramount's dissatisfaction with the project's current script - penned by Orci and up-and-comers Patrick McKay and John D. Payne - was the reason he stepped down. However, the new date signals that the studio will not be starting from scratch on the Star Trek 3 screenplay after all, and that Orci will continue to help get the script in shape before production starts next year.
Star Trek 3 is scheduled to reach U.S. theaters on July 8th, 2016, which is a date that currently does not have any other films slated to arrive. However, there are a pair of tentpoles - Steven Spielberg's The BFG adaptation and David Yates' Tarzan movie - that will arrive a week before the next Trek installment. Meanwhile, Universal is still holding onto a date one week after Star Trek 3, for what looks to be the next Bourne film (starring Matt Damon and directed by Paul Greengrass).
Lin, as it were, was getting ready to direct a Bourne Legacy sequel for that July 15th, 2016 date, before the Damon/Greengrass Bourne franchise reunion took that spot. No doubt, the fact that Lin had already set aside time in his schedule for him to work on a big-budget studio tentpole for a Summer 2016 release, was a factor in him ultimately walking away with the Star Trek 3 directing job.
The last two Star Trek movies have divided Trekkies, as a result of them being heavier on the popcorn sci-fi action film elements, and lighter on the traditional Star Trek sci-fi allegories and/or social commentary. However, Orci has indicated in the past that the Star Trek 3 storyline will involve more actual "Trekking". Fingers crossed, that will also mean more thoughtful exploration of new worlds, in addition to the fireworks.
Lin is directing the first two episodes of True Detective's second season, so his work on HBO's philosophical crime drama series may better prepare him to deliver the variety of smart genre entertainment that many Trek fans want. A healthy balance of brains and spectacle would be fitting for the franchise's big anniversary - celebrating what Trek has come to symbolize to so many, while still keeping the property feeling relevant, modern, and ready to continue on into the future.
Star Trek 3 (not the final title) opens in U.S. theaters on July 8th, 2016.
Source: Paramount Pictures