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While some high-profile tentpoles, like Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and The Hunger Games, looked beyond their narrow cinematic worlds to find directors after their initial helmers vacated, Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions are that progressive when it comes to Star Trek 3. Speculation about who will replace J.J. Abrams, who went off to do that other space movie, has revolved around the rebooted franchise’s writer/producer Roberto Orci, and it’s looking more and more like this will be his directorial debut.
What was that? Did somebody just cheer, or was that just the wind whistling through the trees? The wind, then. Okay. Let’s move on, but I’m watching you.
We’ve entered an era where Orci is no longer mentioned in the same breath as Alex Kurtzman, as the duo recently ended their longtime writing-producing partnership, which included projects like Star Trek Into Darkness, Cowboys & Aliens, Fringe, and most recently, The Amazing Spider-Man 2. The Star Trek 3 screenplay, which Orci wrote with first-time writers Patrick McKay and John D. Payne, was one of the earliest projects that he’s done solo. Or at least as close to solo as he has come.
Orci’s position at the head of the director race is being reported by Deadline, whose sources say he’s already in talks to take the gig. And it’s almost impossible to feel great about it. On the one hand, Orci is obviously invested in this franchise, and was directly responsible for part of its successes. On the other hand, the worst parts about the Star Trek movies have been script issues, and you’ll notice that Fringe is the only entry in the aforementioned list that had decent writing, and that’s because the show employed many other writers. He also co-wrote The Island, Mission Impossible III, and the first two Transformers movies. That doesn’t exactly inspire confidence.
Apparently, Orci has Skydance on his side, but it’s the Paramount execs that needed to be convinced that he can handle Star Trek 3. I assume the credentials needed here are “a lengthy career with J.J. Abrams and the ability to crank stories out like clockwork.” And Orci definitely has those qualifications going for him. He’s also attached to the upcoming Amazing Spider-Man 3 and Venom, as well as a Van Helsing project and a couple of TV shows on the horizon. Can’t we just let him get on with those things and bring an established director to this franchise that won’t put everyone at risk for lens flare-based epileptic fits?
But Orci may create the greatest Star Trek film that will ever exist. Which way do you guys think it will go?