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Back in May it seemed like Roberto Orci was a guaranteed lock to direct the upcoming, untitled Star Trek 3, but it turns out that the trades may have been a bit over eager in reporting that bit of news. While the filmmaker is still in the running for the gig, apparently the deal has not been closed just yet.
While Orci has been one of the lead candidates for the Star Trek 3 directing gig going back to April (said to be a frontrunner in early summer), he has revealed to Collider that the job is not yet his to claim as his own. Said the writer/producer,
"I don’t want to count my chickens before they hatch. The studio has yet to even read the script. I’m in the middle of writing it, with the talented team of [John D.] Payne and [Patrick] McKay. They are true Star Trek fans, as well. So, I can’t even think anything about the future until I give them a script and they greenlight it. Until that happens, everything else is just a rumor."
Basically, it sounds like Paramount Pictures is waiting to see a script before allowing one of their biggest franchises to be placed in the hands of a filmmaker without any directing experience - which is pretty obviously a smart move on the studio's part. Payne and McKay were first hired to work on the screenplay back in December, so if they're still in the middle of writing it then it may actually be a while before we hear any big news about exactly who is directing.
While he may not be necessarily directing the film, Orci is still clearly a big creative contributor to the upcoming Star Trek 3 and the has opened up before about the direction that the franchise is heading in. Late last month the filmmaker conducted an interview in which he talked about how Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness were meant to introduce audiences to new versions of Kirk and the rest of the Enterprise crew, and have the characters grow into the ones introduced back in the 1960s. Now that they have reached that point, according to Orci, the next big step is to send them out on a five year mission.
Paramount has said that their plans are to have Star Trek 3 in theaters for 2016, which means that the next few months will be absolutely crucial in the blockbuster's development. If the film is being planned for a summer release, production will probably have to start up in the early months of next year, so the rest of 2014 will be spent making sure that the script is in order, lining up new castmembers, and getting all of the little ducks in a row. Considering the studio has a planned presentation at San Diego Comic-Con next week, maybe they'll use that as a forum to make some big announcements kicking everything off.