It hasn't reached the billion dollar heights of similar blockbuster titles, but the rebooted Star Trek film franchise has made a name for itself as one of the most successful modern film series. While their style certainly made them divisive in the eyes of Trekkies, the two films have garnered a positive critical reception and profitable box office returns.
As such, anticipation has been high for Star Trek 3. With J.J. Abrams (who called the shots on the two prior installments) jumping ship from the Enterprise to the Millennium Falcon, the threequel is in need of a new director. At one point, Trek screenwriter Roberto Orci was set to make his directorial debut as the movie's helmsmen, but very recently stepped out of the captain's chair, a development that was met with restrained jubilation by fans of the series.
Since Orci has been teasing story ideas for Star Trek 3 for a while, the fact that he wasn't directing came as somewhat of a surprise. One of the prevailing rumors surrounding the story was that Orci was removed after Paramount became displeased with the direction of the script, which supposedly saw the Enterprise crew, Vulcans, and a new alien race hunt for a time travel device, with the Vulcans looking to undo the destruction of their planet from 2009's Star Trek.
As we await who will replace Orci as director (Edgar Wright's name has popped up), the man has opened up and provided some details regarding his departure. Orci returned to TrekMovie.com (a place where he has an interesting history to say the least) to set the record straight about his role (which will be a producer) with the film.
In a post on the fan site's message board, Orci stated that he is "very involved" with Star Trek 3's development and he's excited about the prospect of making it. He reiterated that "the right director" will be found soon, so that the project can hit theaters on time. The production team is currently seeking a 2016 release date in order to celebrate the franchise's 50th anniversary.
As for the hotly-contested script debate, which has been cited by some as the main reason he's off the gig, according to Orci, those reports are inaccurate. He addressed the issue in another post:
"no time travel was ever considered, fyi"
When Orci first vacated the director's chair, we speculated that the breakup was rather amicable since he is staying on board as one of its producers. If Paramount was so unhappy with Orci's vision for the narrative that they would consider starting from scratch, it wouldn't make a whole lot of sense to keep him around. Since he's still a key figure in the creative process, then the studio is most likely in favor of the movie's script.
The decision to have someone else helm the film probably boils down to wanting a filmmaker with more experience behind the cameras. As stated previously, Star Trek 3 would have been Orci's first ever feature, and this is one of Paramount's most viable properties. In order to keep up with the competition, finding a more seasoned director to handle the big-budget production would be wise. Orci's comment that the "right" director needs to be found lends credence to this theory, since a rookie helmsman could be out of his element in a major franchise film.
We'll have to wait to see who ends up with the directing job, but for the time being, we can put the narrative of turmoil between Orci and Paramount to bed. All seems to be fine with the two parties, who appear to be committed to making the best product possible. The first two films in this series succeeded with Orci having a hand with the screenplay and a veteran director at the helm. At this point, there's no need to mess with a proven formula.
Star Trek 3 should be in theaters by 2016.
Follow Chris on Twitter @ChrisAgar90.