2015 is shaping up as the Year of the Hollywood Franchise, but 2016 isn't looking shabby either. A handful of genre tentpoles - like the Warcraft and Angry Birds game movies and The Mummy film reboot - have already been set for release that year, in addition to heavyweight sequels like Independence Day 2, Finding Dory and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (all of which had previously been eyed for a 2015 launch).
Paramount hopes to have Star Trek 3 - the third entry in the rebooted Star Trek movie continuity - ready for takeoff by 2016, seeing how that year marks the 50th anniversary of the late Gene Roddenberry's original sci-fi TV show (which has become the basis for a multi-platform phenomena over the years since airing).
J.J. Abrams directed the Star Trek reboot and its sequel, Star Trek Into Darkness, but he'll only be involved in a producer capacity - at the most - on the third film, since he currently has his hands full putting Star Wars: Episode VII together in time in order to make a December 2015 deadline. Nothing is set in stone yet, but filmmaker Joe Cornish (Attack the Block) is tapped as the favorite to replace Abrams at the helm for the U.S.S. Enterprise's next space mission.
THR has an update on the writer situation for Star Trek 3, following a previous report which indicated that the film will once again be penned by Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci (writers/producers on the last two installments). Orci is still onboard to script the third Star Trek, but Kurtzman is taking a pass; meanwhile, Patrick McKay and J.D. Payne - screenwriters on the slow-in-development Boilerplate comic book adaptation that Abrams is backing - will serve as Orci's screenplay collaborators.
Orci and Kurtzman are still tapped to co-write The Amazing Spider-Man 3 (also slated for released in 2016) together with Jeff Pinkner, meaning the superhero blockbuster will reunite the scribe trio responsible for next year's second installment, The Amazing Spider-Man 2.
Combine that and Orci/Kurtzman's ongoing responsibilities as co-creators/showrunners on Fox's hit Sleepy Hollow TV Series - which has been confirmed for a second season in 2014 - and their involvement with ushering in a new era for Universal's horror monster properties (The Mummy, Van Helsing, etc.), and it's fair to say that Kurtzman probably has a legitimate excuse for skipping out on writing Star Trek 3.
Besides, the unproven writing additions to the film - in the shapes of McKay and Payne - could be the key to bringing the Star Trek franchise back to its roots (see: the hopeful outlook and progressive nature of the Enterprise's missions in pre-reboot Trek movies/TV shows), following Abrams' two installments - which are fun, but arguably more TV-style space drama/adventures, with regards to the execution.
Similarly, a storyteller like Cornish - also the co-writer of The Adventures of Tintin and Edgar Wright's upcoming Ant-Man comic book movie - may be more inclined to embrace the intelligence and compassion of Roddenberry's founding vision (with the proper geeky spirit), while still providing the requisite spectacle, shiny CGI effects and thrills necessary to satisfy the demands of a modern action movie template.
Now, that sounds like a fitting way to commemorate the series' 50th birthday, yes?
We'll keep you posted on Star Trek 3's development as more details are made available.