Ten days ago, it was announced that Roberto Orci would not be making his directorial debut on the tentatively-titled Star Trek 3, thus endangering any hope that the movie would be ready for release in time for the franchise’s 50th anniversary in 2016. Sources close to the production indicated that Paramount Pictures was hoping to snag Edgar Wright, who famously departed Marvel Studios’ long-in-development Ant-Manback in May and was later replaced by Peyton Reed, to replace the inexperienced Orci in the director’s chair on what looks to be an important motion picture on several levels.
It looks as if any hope of retaining the services of the Shaun of the Dead/The World’s End filmmaker has proven to be a pipe dream because a promising shortlist of potential directors for Star Trek 3 has been leaked and Wright’s name is not among them. According to Mike Fleming Jr. at Deadline, Paramount has narrowed their selection of possible directorial pinch hitters to Rupert Wyatt, Duncan Jones, Daniel Espinosa, Justin Lin, and Morten Tyldum.
Lin is best known for directing most of the Fast and the Furious sequels and was mooted to take the helm of a sequel to 2012’s The Bourne Legacy until that project was delayed in favor of a new Bourne movie to reunite director Paul Greengrass and star Matt Damon. Espinosa last directed Safe House starring Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds and has Child 44 with Tom Hardy set for release in April. Most recently, Tyldum directed the Oscar bait historical drama The Imitation Game. He has since been attached to a screen adaptation of the William Gibson novel Pattern Recognition.
The names with the most promise on this last are Wyatt, who helped to successfully revive a moribund franchise with the 2011 hit Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and Jones, the director of Moon and Source Code who is currently at work on Warcraft. They both have great experience with energizing creatively-bankrupt series and genres with exciting visuals, fresh ideas, and captivating storytelling.
Wyatt just worked with Paramount on the Christmas Day release The Gambler with Mark Wahlberg, John Goodman, and Jessica Lange, so it’s fair to share he’s the top choice at the studio to take on the new Star Trek movie. Warcraft will probably continue to consume the majority of Jones’ life until its March 11, 2016 release date, making it highly doubtful he would want to jump into another major tentpole production targeting a theatrical bow in the same year. Since his HBO series Echo Chamber remains stalled in pre-production, I’d say the job of directing Star Trek 3 is Wyatt’s to lose.
Don’t take my word for it, though. Expect an official announcement soon.