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Lots of news came out over the last two months concerning the next Star Trek movie. For starters, as it was already known, JJ Abrams (the director behind the previous two entries) isn’t returning as a director (due to his commitments to Star Wars). It is reported his is still on as a producer (more on this below). In his place, frequent collaborator and co-writer of the rebooted Star Trek, Roberto Orci was chosen to direct and co-write the next Star Trek feature. Meanwhile, writer Alex Kurtzman and Damon Lindelof were not returning. Paramount wanted the film out by summer 2016 to capitalize on Star Trek’s 50th anniversary.
Everything seemed to be going along normally until early December. Then, everything changed.
Seemingly overnight, Orci was ousted from the director’s chair and was no longer writing the movie. Rumors abounded online on why this was. Some thought that because Orci would have been a first-time director, Paramount got cold feet before production really started to ramp up. Other rumors had Orci being difficult to work with or that his script was incredibly disappointing. Truth is, nothing is really known on why he was replaced.
According to reports (including interviews he has given), he still remains as a producer on the film.
Within weeks, it was announced that Justin Lin (the director who revitalized the Fast and Furious franchise) will helm the next adventure of the USS Enterprise. In a more surprising movie, it was later revealed that Simon Pegg (Scotty in the new movies) signed on as a co-writer.
Lots of things to discuss. First, it is somewhat surprising that, with the exception of producer Bryan Burk, most of the group who resurrected the franchise after it puttered out ten years ago is gone. The so-called “Supreme Court” included Abrams, Burk, Kurtzman, Orci, and Damon Lindelof. Kurztman and Lindelof are gone. Abrams and Orci are still producers, but I really question how active they will be in the creative process. Not that this is a bad thing or that all of these people need to commit their lives to Star Trek. It is just strange when you sit down and think about it.
I know other series have their primary creative staff depart between installments, but this, somehow, feels different. When Orci was directing, I could at least see how the visual style and themes might continue on from where Star Trek Into Darkness left off. When he was removed and there wasn’t a director listed, I questioned if the new film would feel like an extension from what came before.
As for Justin Lin being announced as the new director – I’m all in. He has an incredible eye for action and visual flare. I completely dismissed my question of visual continuity. Though different, he has a style that would complement what JJ Abrams started. I truly believe that of all the other directors Paramount was considering (including Edgar Wright), Lin was the absolutely best choice. I am really excited to see what he does with the film.
With Simon Pegg writing…that is a real head scratcher. This can be either really good or really bad. I generally like Pegg and he’s a comedy writer. I like comedy, but I feel the new Trek films have the right amount of comedy in them already. Pushing it to be more comedic might just be too much for its own good. Then again, he’s paired with other writers, so that might balance it out (and just because Pegg typically writers comedy, doesn’t mean that’ll be his focus here).
While there were some preliminary pre-production issues, I wouldn’t label Star Trek 13 a troubled production. Many films have these kind of issues before shooting begins. Most don’t get reported, because most are not popular franchises that people are extremely devoted to. I am pumped for what this new team of filmmakers can give audiences and how they will make their imprint on the Star Trek universe. The previous two films, while not perfect, have been pretty fun so far. I want that to continue, and I think the film has the right people in place to make that happen.