Deadline has the news today that Star Trek 3(ish) will no longer be Roberto Orci’s directorial debut. Phew.
Not that Orci hadn’t developed enough clout with the studio to make the leap from writer/producer to the director of one of Paramount’s biggest franchises, but what the fuck was that about in the first place? Granted, Star Trek actually has a history of handing the directorial duties to first-timers as a peace offering to keep valuable talent involved; but in those instances, they we’re dangling the carrot in front of Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner to make sure that—you know—the two leads still wanted to star in their own films.
Orci’s not an insubstantial character in the grand scheme of things and he’d certainly have kept a level of continuity going with the franchise now that J.J. Abrams left for a galaxy a little farther away, but this is too crucial a time for this kind of studio gift giving. Not only is the third movie being timed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the series, it’s also following a divisive entry. The latter point matters for all of the most obvious reasons, but let’s use the Spiderman franchise to belabor the point of how deeply “bad” films have broken what could’ve been the most lucrative franchise in modern film history. Spiderman 3 is the highest grossing film of the series, but it scorched the earth to the tune of a few hundred million dollars being lost with the next film. Things haven’t recovered since.
Star Trek isn’t starting from that same point of success, so for them, this is an even more precarious situation. They don’t have the luxury of putting a novice at the helm like Universal and Warners did with Jurassic World and Godzilla (respectively). Mike Flemming mentions Edgar Wright being on the “short list” and sure, that would be great. He’s a world-class director and seems primed to step onto a larger stage as soon as the time and project are right. But… The Ant-Man story should tell you everything you need to know about why he probably won’t take the job. Wright is a writer/director in every sense. He writes to the edit, which is his strong suit. Saddling him with a script by someone else (likely Orci) would defeat the point of hiring Wright in the first place and I think he’s smart enough to know that.
So they need a strong voice who can write quickly or at least work well with others. Unfortunately, that rules out Joe Carnahan, who may have an in with Chris Pine (and gets the best work out of him, honestly) but doesn’t play particularly well with others (he’d still be a great choice). I’d vote for Frank Darabont, who hasn’t made a movie since The Mist (believe it) but knows how to direct an ensemble on a tight schedule. Something tells me he’d understand the franchise the same way Nicholas Myers did and enjoy playing in this universe. Anyway, that’s pure wishful thinking on my part. Who directs this fucker? Who saves this thing? Discuss!