While a new screenwriting team in the form of Ashley Edward Miller and Zack Stentz (Thor, X-Men: First Class) was recently teased as possibly taking over Paramount’s Star Trek film franchise, it looks like familiar faces Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci will once again be returning for Star Trek 3. The screenwriters are in negotiations to write the newest installment. Meanwhile, J.J. Abrams is in his own negotiations to produce the film. Damon Lindelof will not be returning, according to the report; he’s likely busy with his upcoming HBO series, The Leftovers. Hit the jump for more on this screenwriting news, why it’s great for the studio (and screenwriters themselves, obviously) but not necessarily a win for fans.
Heat Vision reports that Kurtzman and Orci will once again return to pen Star Trek 3. Not surprisingly, no plot details are available at the moment and the film remains without an official title or release date. Stars Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto and Zoe Saldana are expected to return and one would be surprised if Paramount missed Star Trek’s 50th anniversary in 2016. Though Paramount toyed with the idea of bringing in a fresh screenwriting team, apparently Kurtzman/Orci were able to find an opening in their busy schedules that satisfied the studio.
Kurtzman and Orci’s first effort in 2009’s Star Trek earned about $258 million stateside and nearly $386 million worldwide. Their follow-up, Star Trek Into Darkness managed respective hauls of $226 million domestic and $451 million global. Though it’s difficult to tell what each film’s profit margin ended up being for the studio due to deflated budget reports and veiled marketing costs, it’s likely that Paramount sided with bringing Kurtzman and Orci back for consistency’s sake, rather than take a risk with the franchise. Ironically, risk-taking is what the spirit of Star Trek is all about, but something the films have yet to reflect.
Star Trek Into Darkness took a lot of well-deserved flak for co-opting an iconic villain and plotline from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, remained stubbornly vague when pressed on related questions prior to the film’s release and then failed to execute said plot points in the film in any sort of impactful way. One highlight of Star Trek Into Darkness was that its ending [spoiler] suggests the Enterprise crew is finally going to go, ya know, into space.
Trek’s Karl Urban recently voiced a wish shared by many fans about the upcoming film, saying (via IGN):
“What I really believe we should do now is strive for originality. Because in Star Trek Into Darkness we took one of the most revered and loved adversaries of the Enterprise and put him in there, and did a story that had all of these wonderful nods to films from the past, and episodes from the past. I really think that what we should do from here, in my personal opinion, is strive to be original. Strive to be something different and new. You know, let’s not forget that Star Trek as envisioned was about space exploration. And it would be really wonderful to harness the spirit of that and apply it to the next film, so that we do something different than a revenge-based picture.”
Sorry, Urban. The rehiring of Kurtzman and Orci prevents any sense of freshness for the next film. While their return could result in an original space-based script, I’d be less surprised to see a rehash of stories we’ve already seen. If you were fans of the duo’s previous Trek work, or any of their other screenwriting efforts, this comes as good news to you. If you’re like me and want to see a more original (and, God forbid, coherent) script, it looks like we’re stuck waiting for another series reboot.