Paramount Pictures is preparing to fast track a sequel to this summer's Star Trek, with screenwriting team Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman returning alongside Damon Lindelof to write the screenplay for a follow-up to the upcoming May 8 release. Just last week, Orci and Kurtzman announced that they were passing on writing Transformers 3 so they likely knew early that Paramount wanted to lock them in for a fast-tracking Trek sequel.
J.J. Abrams, who directed and produced the new film, is on board to produce the follow-up alongside his Bad Robot partner Bryan Burk with Variety reporting that no decision has been made yet on whether Abrams will direct the sequel. Orci, Kurtzman and Lindelof also are receiving producing credit on the sequel.
The trade says the story is still in the embryonic stage, but the trio are aiming to deliver their script to the Melrose studio by Christmas for what would likely be a summer 2011 release.
"There's obviously a lot of hubris involved in signing on to write a sequel of a movie that hasn't even come out yet," said Lindelof, co-creator with Abrams of ABC's "Lost" who produced the upcoming "Trek" but did not contribute to Orci and Kurtzman's screenplay. "But we're so excited about the first one that we wanted to proceed."
As for potential storylines, Kurtzman stressed that the writing team will wait to take a cue from fan reaction about which direction to go.
"Obviously we discussed ideas, but we are waiting to see how audiences respond next month," he said. "With a franchise rebirth, the first movie has to be about origin. But with a second, you have the opportunity to explore incredibly exciting things. We'll be ambitious about what we'll do."
Though Orci and Kurtzman have worked together as a writing team for more than 12 years, the duo has worked with Lindelof on only one screenplay: DreamWorks' Cowboys and Aliens, which they are currently writing together.Paramount has high hopes for the Star Trek relaunch, and is pulling out all the stops on the marketing front. Studio began a full-scale campaign six months before the film's May bow.