Star Trek (2009) and Star Trek Into Darkness director J.J. Abrams is currently waist-deep in production on Star Wars: Episode VII, but will be remaining onboard as a producer for the next Trek movie installment. The film, which is expected to make a 2016 release date (the 50th anniversary of the Star Trek franchise), has Roberto Orci - co-writer/producer on the Abrams Trek movies - lined up to direct Star Trek 3, as it's currently known.
Simon Pegg, who is the actor currently playing Scotty in the Star Trek universe, has confirmed to the BBC that Orci will be calling the shots on Star Trek 3, by way of expressing his excitement about the news. Paramount, however, originally looked to fill the director's chair with someone who had no previous association with the Trek property.
Such respected filmmakers as Rupert Wyatt (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) and Joe Cornish (Attack the Block) were among those reported as front-runners for the Star Trek 3 job, at some point over the past year. Pegg, for his money, said that he's glad the directing job was ultimately "kept within the family" and explained to the BBC why Orci made the most sense, as the pick from that talent pool (see below).
"Bob's been there since the first Star Trek - by that I mean the 2009 one - so it seemed to make perfect sense that he come in as a director on this one because he gets it. He was always the most Trekkie of all of those guys anyway, he's always understood the story the best so it's great that he's going to be involved in the writing and directing."
Orci's former writing partner Alex Kurtzman is currently preparing to direct The Mummy for Universal; meanwhile, the duo's Into Darkness scriptwriting collaborator, Damon Lindelof, has been preoccupied of late with his show The Leftovers (season one is currently airing on HBO). As such, Orci is penning the Star Trek 3 script with up and coming screenwriters Patrick McKay and J.D. Payne (the pair are also developing a Flash Gordon reboot for 20th Century Fox).
Star Trek 3 will take place during the Enterprise's five-year mission (first depicted in the original Star Trek TV series), according to Orci. As a result, the film is expected to offer more of the philosophical elements (see: sci-fi allegories) that were lacking in the Abrams movies. Those films certainly offer their fair share of entertaining sci-fi action and adventure, but there's not a whole lot of Kirk (Chris Pine) and his crew "trekking" across the galaxy - something that seems to have more to do with Abrams' directing approach than Orci's contributions, mind you.
The traditional Star Trek optimism and spirit of exploration is something Orci intends to resurrect with the next film installment, by the sound of it. For such reasons and those highlight by Pegg, Orci is arguably a fine choice to serve as the helmsman on Star Trek 3. Furthermore, Orci in part learned his directing trade on the Abrams Trek films, which means this could be the first Trek movie to have a modern blockbuster visual template and the traditional Star Trek thoughtful mindset.
Agree/disagree? Feel free to let us know in the comments section. In the meantime, we'll continue to keep you updated on the pre-production process for Star Trek 3 (again, not the official title).