Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions have signed J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay to script “Star Trek 3” alongside Roberto Orci.
Alex Kurtzman (“Transformers”) and Damon Lindelof (“Lost”) will not return to write the new installment, which remains untitled. Orci co-wrote the first two films with Kurtzman, and Lindelof joined them to pen “Star Trek: Into Darkness.”
Paramount and Skydance are eyeing a 2016 release date for the sequel in time for the franchise’s 50th anniversary.
Payne and McKay are the writers behind “Boilerplate,” an adaption of the graphic novel about a robot soldier from husband-and-wife comics team Paul Guinan and Anina Bennett. The upcoming film is spearheaded by J.J. Abrams’ production company Bad Robot.
Abrams, who helmed “Star Trek” and “Star Trek: Into Darkness,” will not return to direct but is expected to serve as a producer. He instead will direct 2015′s “Star Wars: Episode VII” from a script he penned with co-writers Lawrence Kasdan (“Star Wars: Episode V — The Empire Strikes Back”) and Michael Arndt (“Toy Story 3”).
With Abrams departing the director’s chair, rumors about his replacement have ignited, with “Attack the Block” director Joe Cornish currently favored.
Meanwhile, Kurtzman is using his time away from Star Trek to focus on future Spider-Man films and to develop projects under his and Orci’s production banner K/O Paper Products, according to The Wrap.
Since 2009’s “Star Trek,” the sci-fi franchise launched by Gene Roddenberry in 1966 has enjoyed a surge in popularity. “Star Trek: Into Darkness” grossed more than $467 million worldwide following its debut May 16, and it became the highest-grossing film of the franchise.
The film stars Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana, Benedict Cumberbatch, Simon Pegg, John Cho, Anton Yelchin, Peter Weller, Alice Eve, Bruce Greenwood.