Big Star Trek 3 news, folks. While it was clear that J.J. Abrams was not going to be able to return to direct Trek 3 due to his duties on Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Paramount Pictures opted to keep things familiar by tapping Star Trek producer/writer Roberto Orci to make his feature directing debut on the project. This was a big coup for Orci, who has zero directing credits to his name and is a massive Trek fan, but was cause for concern for some who thought his previous filmography as a writer and producer wasn’t exactly encouraging. Well now those fans can rest easy, as word comes that Orci has vacated the director’s chair for Star Trek 3.
With Paramount wanting to have the film finished in time for the Star Trek 50th Anniversary in 2016, they’ll need to work quickly to find a replacement. One name that’s apparently on the shortlist: Edgar Wright. More on the Star Trek 3 director shakeup after the jump.
Per Deadline, Orci will no longer be directing Star Trek 3, but he will apparently remain on board the project as a producer. The film was shaping up to be Orci’s baby, as he shepherded the screenplay with two writers he personally chose, John D. Payne and Patrick McKay. The project seemed to be moving forward rather smoothly, with Oscar-winning Life of Pi cinematographer Claudio Miranda coming aboard as director of photography and filming scheduled for Vancouver and Seoul. Abrams, who remains involved as a producer, even reached out and got Wililam Shatner to commit to a role in the film.
Deadline makes no mention of why Orci will no longer be directing [Update: Badass Digest is hearing that the script was the problem. Paramount shut production down last month while they battled over the direction of the screenplay], but the report does add a rather enticing nugget of information by noting that Edgar Wright is on the shortlist to take the job, among others. While it might seem at first glance that replacing another director on a franchise sequel would be atypical for Wright, who tends to develop his own projects, the filmmaker actually has some serious connections to this new Trek series. His longtime friend and collaborator Simon Pegg is one of the main cast members, of course, and Wright also visited the set of Star Trek Into Darkness and directed one shot of the film.
There doesn’t seem to be any tangible info on Wright’s involvement with the pic just yet, so right now it’s simply a possibility, but it would certainly be an interesting next step for the director after parting ways with Marvel’s Ant-Man due to creative differences with the studio. His Ant-Man co-writer and Attack the Block helmer Joe Cornish was previously a prime candidate to helm Trek 3, but Cornish ended up pursuing other project. Would Wright be willing to step into an already established franchise with a studio that’s targeting a closely approaching release date? That’s unclear, but the guy’s insanely talented so Trek would be lucky to have him. It’s not like he’s sitting idle, though, as the filmmaker is currently developing a couple of great-sounding original projects to direct in the near future.
Hopefully we hear more soon, but this latest Star Trek 3 development is certainly surprising.