Before helming the world's other famous space-faring franchise, director J.J. Abrams made Star Trek a prominent and commercially successful brand once again with his 2009 reboot and its 2013 sequel. By his side was, among other people, Roberto Orci, who co-wrote and produced both films before being tapped to direct 2016's Star Trek 3, the release of which is timed to coincide with the franchise's 50th anniversary.
Now, more than six months later - and presumably deep into pre-production - the news broke that Orci won't be directing after all, but will stay on board as producer. There were no details available at the time about what led to Paramount's decision to remove Orci, but according to a new report, his script was the main problem.
Orci was working with screenwriters Patrick McKay and J.D. Payne, who were previously best known for working on 20th Century Fox's long-in-development Flash Gordon reboot. Orci himself reported that their first draft was complete back in August, which would in theory be keeping with their intention to get the cameras rolling by Spring of 2015.
Bear in mind none of this information is confirmed, but according to BadAss Digest, they might be starting (almost) from scratch. The most recent version of the story was said to include a time travel plot device similar to the 2009 reboot. According to BAD's Devin Faraci:
...my sources tell me that the script Orci was working on saw the Enterprise, the Vulcans and a new alien race competing to get a time travel device. The Vulcans want to go back and stop the destruction of their planet, and the time travel schtick is what would allow Chris Pine and William Shatner to share the screen.
The post was then updated with the following:
Paramount shut the production down last month, sending home all the design people while they battled over the direction of the screenplay. I imagine all this stuff is gone now.
And Faraci also tweeted the following as a clarification:
I think the TREK 3 plot I talked about in my piece is out the window, and is where Orci's end began. I updated http://t.co/YztQOzFvIY
— Devin Faraci (@devincf) December 5, 2014
I'm hearing the TREK 3 script is dumped, which I'm assuming means McKay and Payne are out as well. Best of luck to those guys, if so.
— Devin Faraci (@devincf) December 6, 2014
While it seems strange that Paramount would have signed off on a story where the conflict of Star Trek 3 was to avert a reboot of their already rebooted continuity - and the story outlined above doesn't seem to be in line with Orci's own wish to do something more original - it does explain how William Shatner could appear as old Captain Kirk. That said, until we hear something more official on the matter, take all this with a grain of salt.
There are plenty of Trekkies who haven't forgotten Orci's odd lecturing of fans who criticized some of the filmmakers' story decisions in Star Trek Into Darkness, and a general undercurrent of suppressed glee at his removal as director is only compounded by the rumor that fan-favorite Edgar Wright is rumored to be on the shortlist for the job.
Still, the removal of a director is one thing; Peyton Reed replaced Wright on Marvel's Ant-Man just before cameras were set to roll and the production is now wrapped - the reported changes to Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish's script left the spine of the story intact while adding to the MCU world-building (and more explosions). If the plot described above was the heart of Star Trek 3's story and has now been totally scrapped, this is a significant setback, especially if Paramount still wants to have the movie filming by spring.
There is no official word on whether or not screenwriters Payne and McKay have been dismissed, and Orci is again staying on as producer. We are likely to hear who the directing candidates are soon enough, and if there are a couple of writer-directors named (like Wright or even Cornish, who was supposedly in line before Orci was named), that could give us a clue about how much or how little the script needs to be changed.
What do you think about the supposed plot for Star Trek 3, Screen Ranters? Sound off in the comments, and keeping checking back here for more news as it becomes available.
Star Trek 3 is expected to hit theaters in 2016.
Source: BadAss Digest