Ask any screenwriter and director currently involved in a young franchise and they'll say the same thing. We haven't met the characters yet. We haven't established the universe. Baby steps, etc. It gets a little frustrating because for once you'd like to see one movie without being pressured into seeing another. The new Star Trek seems pretty well-developed, however, so it's a little unusual to see Star Trek 3 director Roberto Orci reveal that there's much to learn about this crew's final frontier.
During a podcast with Humans From Earth, Roberto Orci claims that for the next entry in the Star Trek saga, they'll be going where no man has gone before (spoiler: space).
In [Into Darkness] they set out finally where the original series started. The first two films – especially the 2009 [Star Trek] – was an origin story. It was about them coming together. So they weren’t the characters they were in the original series. They were growing into them and that continues on in the second movie. So in this movie they are closer than they are to the original series characters that you have ever seen. They have set off on their five-year mission. So their adventure is going to be in deep space.
It's hard to underestimate the disappointment in diehards familiar with the series when they saw the first trailers for Star Trek Into Darkness. What was this business about the Enterprise crashing into skyscrapers? What was this cityscape business? Where's the space we were promised after Star Trek? Benedict Cumberbatch doesn't look like any alien I know! It continued during the film, where locating Cumberbatch's "John Harrison" (whatever) meant starting some sort of intergalactic war, the sort of intergalactic war that just fades away and is never discussed again.
The original crew of the Enterprise was meant to embark upon a "five year mission" into space, but so far, we still have Captain Kirk, fratty, inexplicably-unkillable Earth-bound jerk. Orci's promise is to shoot the series into the stars and explore new worlds. That's the sort of thing fans of the original series actually want to see, but because of how the earlier movies turned out, I'm not sure those diehard fans will trust this director to do that properly. The bean counters over at Paramount, who have to be concerned that Star Trek Into Darkness was a big hit overseas but grossed less than its predecessor domestically, probably aren't pleased with the idea of nerding out either.
Can Roberto Orci boldly go where no man has gone before? Or are we getting the same stuff all over again? And is "deep space" too ambitious an angle for a first-time director, specifically one who has only worked on the writing side in a duo with Alex Kurtzman (off at Sony doing Spider-Man things)? We'll see soon, as Star Trek 3 shoots for a 2016 release date.