The third installment in the rebooted Star Trek franchise is getting a new director, now that we know J.J. Abrams traded one galaxy for another, but as it turns out, the film will also have a pair of new screenwriters to go along with the new visionary.
J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay have been hired to write the third Star Trek for Paramount and Skydance Productions, THR reports. and that they will be working alongside franchise writer/producer Roberto Orci (so celebrate accordingly). The trade says that Orci will NOT be working with his usual co-writer, Alex Kurtzman, which is pretty unusual.
At the very least the new writing duo should have a good amount of time to develop a story. The third Star Trek has no set-in-stone release date at the moment, meaning Paramount can scour the calendar – which is already populated with many massive upcoming blockbusters – and pick and choose their perfect spot. THR notes that Paramount would love to have the next Star Trek movie in theaters in 2016, which marks the 50th anniversary of the franchise. Hiring a pair of screenwriters who can avoid this can only help the series’ cause:
Payne and McKay recently completed a task for Abrams, adapting the graphic novel Boilerplate by Paul Guinan and Anina Bennett. Abrams must have liked what he saw from this team if he’s willing to hand over the next Star Trek to a pair of relatively untested scribes.
The big trick will be finding the right director, of course. Several of the obvious contenders are being snatched up or other projects. Edgar Wright, coming off the sci-fi success of The World’s End, is diving into Ant-Man and Brad Bird’s tied up in Tomorrowland. A while back, it was reported that Attack the Block director Joe Cornish was high on Abrams’ list – and he even admits to such a belief in the following video – but no hire has been made.
At the very least, we know that Paramount is making bold moves behind the scenes to keep Star Trek on track in Abrams’ absence. The original cast is still under contract, and there are plenty of stories to tell in this universe, obviously. Pick the right one, hand it to the right director, and Chris Pine and crew can make 10 more Star Trek movies … before we’ll have to figure out how to reboot it all over again.