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‘Star Trek 3′ – Everything We Know About the Upcoming Sequel

Paramount Pictures

The cash registers just stopped ringing for ‘Star Trek Into Darkness,’ which raked in an estimated $84 million over the 4-day weekend and an additional $80M internationally since opening on May 9. And, of course, talk has already turned to ‘Star Trek 3.’

The effort at rebooting the Star Trek brand for a new generation has been a success and even though J.J. Abrams is departing this particular universe to play in Lucasfilm’s sandbox, that doesn’t mean the Trek franchise will crumble without him. Quite the opposite.

Plans already are underway for the third installment in this rebooted Trek franchise and as a handy guide, here’s everything we know about the as-yet-untitled ‘Star Trek 3.’

When will it open?

Paramount wants ‘Star Trek 3′ in theaters in 2016, which means it would coincide with the 50th anniversary of the launch of the 1966 television series.

‘Into Darkness’ screenwriter Roberto Orci told Trek Movie that Paramount executives “are firm about having a movie out by the 50th anniversary [in 2016], and we’re all trying to see if we can all make it work together.”

As of right now, only ‘How to Train Your Dragon 3’ (June 18), ‘Angry Birds’ (July 1) and 20th Century Fox’s animated mummy adventure ‘Anubis’ (July 15) have staked claims on 2016 summer release dates, so ‘Star Trek 3’ could nab a key May date, keeping with the tradition of this new iteration of the franchise.

Wait, if ‘Star Trek 3’ isn’t reaching theaters until 2016, that means Abrams already will have delivered his ‘Star Wars: Episode VII,’ which is scheduled to open in 2015. Does that mean Abrams could complete the ‘Trek’ trilogy, making him the only filmmaker in Hollywood history to bounce between the ‘Trek’ and ‘Star Wars’ universes?

Who will direct?

Abrams certainly left the door open to directing ‘Star Trek 3’ when he was asked on several occasions during the various ‘Into Darkness’ press events whether this was his swan song.

“I would say it’s a possibility. We’re trying to figure out the next step. But it’s like anything: It all begins with the story,” Abrams told Playboy in an extensive, insightful interview.

At the same time, this New York Times piece suggests that the burden of balancing two enormous franchises could be too much for Abrams to bear … especially as it might affect the quality of the sequels.

Still, Abrams’ fingerprints will be on the sequel, to some extent. As he tells the Belfast Telegraph:

No matter what if there is a third film Bad Robot and I will be producing the film, so we’ll definitely be involved in it.

If Abrams can’t return to ‘Trek’ because of his ‘Star Wars’ commitments, whom should direct the next sequel? This is all speculation, but in the same Playboy interview, Abrams mentioned ‘Looper’ director Rian Johnson as an “up-and-coming” filmmaker to pay attention to.

I love what he did with ‘Looper,’ the scope of the movie and the emotion—and that moment when we discover who the Rainmaker is is one of the most chilling, awesome moments I’ve seen in movies in a long time. He has a big career ahead of him.

Perhaps as the next ‘Star Trek’ director?

Who will star in ‘Star Trek 3′?

Thankfully, for Paramount, ‘Star Trek’ doesn’t face the same contract negotiations that are plaguing Marvel.

Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto and the major crew members of the Starship Enterprise are contractually obligated to participate in ‘Star Trek 3′ … even though Pine’s about to relaunch the ‘Jack Ryan’ franchise in December. No matter how successful that reboot might be (also for Paramount), he’ll eventually be back in the captain’s chair.

How about new cast members? Well, Alice Eve also signed on for a sequel, so Carol Marcus will be part of the Enterprise crew when the ship flies again.

And Benedict Cumberbatch certainly could return … providing he survived the cataclysmic conclusion of ‘Star Trek Into Darkness.’

“If he survives this movie, I think we would be incredibly stupid to not see him again,” said co-writer Damon Lindelof in a recent interview with Screen Rant.

Who will be the ‘Star Trek 3’ villain?

Those of us who’ve seen ‘Into Darkness’ know that Kirk’s aggressive actions while pursuing Cumberbatch’s villain have angered the Klingons, and Lindelof says it’s normal to assume ‘Trek 3’ would exploit that angle. He tells HeyYouGuys:

You can never see enough Klingons, and I think in this film we’ve given the audience a little taste, but there’s also a promise that there’s a larger conflict on the horizon, and that would be fun to see.

Also, the final scenes of ‘Into Darkness’ suggest that the action of the next chapter might be set far from our own planet, which played a significant role in Abrams’ first two films (setting key scenes in London and San Francisco in both films). As you know, this latest film ends with the Enterprise beginning a five-year mission to unchartered territories of outer space.

Is ‘Star Trek 3’ finally ready to boldly go where no ‘Trek’ movie has gone before? We’ll keep you updated as plans develop.

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