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Depending on how you look at it, J.J. Abrams and his famous mystery box let us down a little this summer, releasing the nostalgia-fueled Super 8 but failing to capture the magic of its inspirations like E.T., or even of previous Abrams movies like Star Trek. But the guy has treated us too well for too long to give up hope now, and as he finally, finally gears up to make Star Trek 2, he's cooking up another mystery project that we're going to anticipate no matter what. According to Deadline he's teaming up with screenwriter Billy Ray for a "mystery adventure" pitch that's been picked up by Paramount. Naturally, we don't know anything else about it.

Ray is the writer of Shattered Glass, Flightplan and the constantly-in-the-works 24 movie, among other things; he's also writing the Maersk Alabama Somali pirates movie for director Paul Greengrass and star Tom Hanks. In short, he's an in-demand screenwriter who knows what he's doing, which makes me more optimistic about this collaboration with Abrams than anything else. Say what you will about Abrams and his boundless imagination and crack sense of coming timing amid action moments, but Super 8 proved that his storytelling instincts can be very flawed too. Even Star Trek, which teamed Abrams up with expert writers like Damon Lindelof, suffered from some leaps in logic and torturously complicated plot. Winnowing the brain trust down to just Abrams, who has imagination and ideas to spare, and Ray, who understands screenplay structure and clear storytelling, seems like the best way to get the ambition and the concise plot to unite at last.

Of course, we have no idea what idea has sparked this collaboration, so if it turns out they're working on some ridiculous plot about flesh-eating flies or boring people working out their daddy issues, all bets are off. But Abrams has managed to make things as crazy as a giant monster movie or a Star Trek reboot successful, so even if it sounds silly on first glance, give it a minute-- he's always got more surprises in that mystery box.

(Image via Joe Seer / Shutterstock.com)