It’s been a while since we’ve heard much about ‘Star Trek 3,’ and it seems like that might be for a good reason: the upcoming sequel has just lost director Roberto Orci, who also co-wrote the first two films with partner Alex Kurtzman. Orci was initially given the job to replace J.J. Abrams when Abrams departed to direct ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens,’ and the third ‘Star Trek’ installment would have been Orci’s directorial debut. It looks like the sequel needs to beam itself up a new director, and fast. UPDATE: We have more information on why Orci left the project below.

Deadline reports that Orci has vacated the director’s chair, although no reason has been given at this time. Orci co-wrote the first two ‘Trek’ films with partner Alex Kurtzman before the pair parted ways last year. Kurtzman has since continued to pick up plenty of work, overseeing Universal's reboot of their classic monsters and directing their new version of ‘The Mummy.’ As for Orci, this isn’t the only directing job he’s recently quit: he also left the ‘Mighty Morphin Power Rangers’ film.

UPDATE: According to Badass Digest, sources say that production on the film was shut down last month after the studio and Orci disagreed over the direction of the script, which Orci co-wrote with Patrick McKay and J.D. Payne. In that script, the crew of the Enterprise, the Vulcans, and a third alien race were all trying to get their hands on a device which would allow them to travel back in time. The Vulcans wanted to use this device to go back and save their planet, which had been destroyed in the first film. This script would allow for Chris Pine's younger Captain Kirk to interact with an older Captain Kirk, with William Shatner reprising his role. It would also cancel out the events of the first two films, essentially rebooting the franchise.

Deadline also reports that Orci will remain a producer on ‘Star Trek 3,’ and that Paramount is currently looking for a director to replace him, with Edgar Wright’s name on their shortlist. Previously, Wright’s colleague and ‘Attack the Block’ director Joe Cornish had been in talks to direct ‘Star Trek 3' before Paramount gave the job to Orci, with rumors circulating that the writer/producer made things very difficult for the studio to ensure he landed the position. And now he’s vacated the post.

Paramount intends to begin production on the sequel next spring, with a planned 2016 release date, but unless they find a new director quickly, that may change.

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