Whether you’re excited about it or not, Star Trek 3 is going to be a movie worth keeping an eye on. Not just because the last two films did well critically and at the box office (although Into Darkness didn’t do quite as well as Paramount hoped). And not just because it will be releasing in 2016, in celebration of Trek’s 50th anniversary. No, Star Trek 3 will very much be a transitional film, and a chance for Paramount and the filmmakers to win back some of the long-time Trek fans alienated by J.J. Abrams’ alternate timeline. Where will Star Trek 3 take us? One of the new writers says it’s all about tough choices and boldly going where no man has gone before.
Writer J.D. Payne is one of two new screenwriters tackling Trek 3 with Bob Orci — the other is Payne’s writing partner Patrick McKay. Last month Payne was a guest at the LDS Film Festival, where he spoke about Trek 3, his vision for where the franchise should go next, and how he and his partner landed a dream job writing for a franchise he’s been in love with since he was 15. While he didn’t venture anywhere near specifics as to what the story of Trek 3 might entail, or which antagonists/alien races might be involved, he did say that the third film would be looking to embrace a tenet of the show’s iconic opening narration — to boldly go where no man has gone before — more than the previous two films did. Payne said:
We had sort of the origin story, we had sort of a darker, grittier manhunt Star Trek, but this one we really want to get back to the sense of exploration and wonder. That kind of optimistic sense of the future that Star Trek has always kind of had at its core.