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'Star Trek 3': Roberto Orci confirmed to direct

On May 13 Variety exclusively broke the news that the highly anticipated film "Star Trek 3" will be directed by Roberto Orci. The third film in the popular science fiction franchise has been highly anticipated since the sequel was released last year. Once it was revealed that J.J. Abrams would not return to direct, several people where considered frontrunners for the job.

Roberto Orci
Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Abrams is busy filming the upcoming adventure film "Star Wars: Episode VII," which began production last month in London for a 2015 release. Orci is a first time director, but has been working as a writer and producer with Abrams and his producing partner Alex Kurtzman for several decades. The group have worked together on television projects like "Alias" and "Fringe" as well as movies like "Mission Impossible III" and "Star Trek."

Orci and Kurtzman recently parted ways creatively so they could both work on films, but will still have television projects in development with their production company. Orci has been involved with the film since the start and worked on both the original film and the sequel. The film is expected to be very successful and continue the franchise for more movies in the future.

Orci has been campaigning for the directing job for months, and was up against other directors like Abrams and Joe Cornish. Orci was been working with Skydance Productions to complete the script for the film and needed to convince Paramount that he was up for the directing task. Patrick McKay and J.D. Payne are also working on finalizing the script, which should be ready for filming by late 2014.

Deadline reported on May 13 that the plot is currently being kept under wraps but several cast members are expected to return. The film is expected to include Chris Pine, Zoe Saldana, Zachary Quinto, John Cho, and Anton Yelchin. Abrams will still be involved as a producer as will Bryan Burke and David Ellison.

The original film, "Star Trek" was released back in 2009 and starred Chris Pine as Jim Kirk. The film followed Kirk as he enrolled in Starfleet Academy like his father and jumpstarted the events that led to being placed on the crew for the Enterprise. The 2013 sequel, "Star Trek Into Darkness," introduced the villain Khan and saw the Enterprise save the Earth at great personal cost. The film was delayed so Abrams could work on other projects which is part of the reason Orci is directing the third film.

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