‘Star Trek 3’ Writer Changes: Roberto Orci Only Producing, Film Still Set For July 2016 Release

Star Trek 3 has made another big change to its behind-the-scenes team. Mashable reports that Roberto Orci, originally slated to write and direct, will only produce the new movie. The confirmation comes mere days after Paramount tapped Justin Lin to direct the third installment of the Star Trek reboot.

Orci made the announcement on a Star Trek fan message board that his only involvement will be as a producer.

“I’m producing, [nothing] more or less.”

Collider quotes Orci as giving, at best, a muted endorsement of the new film’s thematic direction. In response to a Star Trek fan’s question about whether his departure from the writing room should be met with protest, Orci stopped short of expressing confidence in the yet-to-be-finalized script.

“I won’t lie, I don’t know yet, but the story we are talking about would be awesome, hang in there!”

Orci also defended his creation of an alternate timeline in the first two Star Trek reboot movies.

“It was my idea so that you would not know what was gonna happen next. Nothing more or less. I stand behind it. And it, again, is the reason why I make movies and you don’t.”

There is no word about the involvement of Orci’s former Star Trek 3 co-writers, Patrick McKay and John D. Payne. Slash Film notes their Hollywood scriptwriting experience is limited, as they have yet to have a script produced. Orci was reportedly working on the Star Trek 3 script for more than a year.

The last film of the franchise, Star Trek Into Darkness, received mixed reviews from fans despite an initially positive response from critics. Entertainment Weekly writer Darren Franich concluded the team behind the Star Trek reboot wanted to remain true to the original canon but still move the series forward. The result was an internal contradiction exemplified by the appearance of Khan in Star Trek Into Darkness.

“Old-school Khan was a randy warlord with dude cleavage; new-school Khan was a monochrome emotionless superspy. They basically turned Conan the Barbarian into Jason Bourne. Really, it’s clear that they wanted to just tell an entirely new story, but decided somewhere along the way that it couldn’t be too new.”

J.J. Abrams departed from his Star Trek directing role, after being at the helm for the first two reboot films, to work on Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Justin Lin is director of the Fast & Furious films, but teased he might pursue an alternate career during the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Star Trek 3 is set to be released in July 2016.

[Image via Variety]