It looks like Roberto Orci will not make his directorial debut in the Star Trek franchise after all, removing himself from the role of succeeding J.J. Abrams for the planned “Star Trek 3.”
It’s not clear why Orci is no longer the director, according to Variety, but the nod to give him the job had created some question among fans and other observers who feared a big budget production was a tough way to break into such a key role. However, Orci had been working on the Trek franchise since the Abrams team took over, part of the writing team behind “Star Trek” in 2009 and “Star Trek: Into Darkness” in 2013.
Orci also found success, along with writing parter Alex Kurtzman, in a number of television shows, including “Fringe,” “Sleepy Hollow,” “Hawaii Five-0” and “Alias.” He also had a significant hand in a number of movies, primarily as a writer, in films like “Mission: Impossible III,” “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” and the Transformers film series.
So who will replace Orci? Paramount Pictures will have to act quickly, because the film already is in pre-production, prepping for a 2016 release. One name on the short list is a good friend of one of Star Trek’s stars, Simon Pegg, director Edgar Wright. He is the critically acclaimed director of “Shaun of the Dead,” “Hot Fuzz” and “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.”
However, none of those films has carried a large budget, nor relied heavily on special effects. And this would be one of the first full-fledged action movies Wright would be asked to direct — some budget estimates have “Star Trek 3” well above $150 million.
Yet, Wright is a self-proclaimed Trekkie, and even had a chance to direct a shot (uncredited) in “Into Darkness.” If Wright takes on “Star Trek 3,” it would be the seventh collaboration between him and Pegg, dating back to the short-lived “Asylum” television show in 1996.
It’s not clear when a decision on a new director will be made, but many suggest it could happen by the end of the year.
Orci will remain a producer on “Star Trek 3,” but the trades also reported that the most recent draft of the film’s script was done by Patrick McKay and John D. Payne, in what is their first major film writing project.