One of the most pressing questions that arose when Disney confirmed that J.J. Abrams was on board to direct Star Wars: The Force Awakens was the future of Paramount Pictures’ Star Trek franchise. In particular, fans were understandably apprehensive as to who will helm the upcoming Star Trek 3 in Abrams’ steed, and the studio quickly turned to long-time writer Robert Orci to take up the directing mantle.
However, in a surprising turn of events, we learned recently that Orci had exited the threequel, stepping down from director to produce alongside Abrams. And it seems Paramount has wasted no time in finding a replacement, as Deadline is reporting that both the studio and Abrams have whittled down their search to five key candidates: Justin Lin, Morten Tyldum, Daniel Espinosa, Duncan Jones, and Planet of the Apes helmer Rupert Wyatt.
It’s a promising line-up, no doubt, but there are a tonne of variables for the studio to consider before finalizing its decision. Chief among those is scheduling conflicts. With Lin in contention to bring the Fast & Furious franchise to a close with multiple sequels — which plan to shoot back-to-back — and Jones already embroiled in Legendary’s Warcraft adaptation, it seems unlikely that either of these directors will be able to juggle another mammoth series.
Speaking of which, Wyatt, who released Mark Wahlberg’s The Gambler recently, is reportedly high on Paramount’s wish list to fill the role. Although both Tyldum and Espinosa — directors of Oscar-tipped The Imitation Game and Safe House, respectively — are close favorites as well.
Paramount Pictures has slated Star Trek 3 for a vague 2016 release date, and it’s likely that the studio will strive to secure a director in the near future before the film enters production at the beginning of next year. We’ll keep you up to date with any and all developments surrounding the studio’s threequel, but for now, you can let us know who you want in the director’s chair in the comments.