J.J. Abrams’ glossy big screen reboot of the Star Trek franchise has so far been successful enough to warrant a third film in the series, which is scheduled to release in 2016 with screenwriter and producer Roberto Orci taking over directing duties while Abrams is busy with another major sci-fi property, Star Wars. With the first draft of the movie’s script having been completed last month, we’re now eagerly awaiting the first story details.
We already have a good idea of when Star Trek 3 will begin filming. Between actor Zachary Quinto’s estimate that production will get going within the next six months and Orci’s decision to back out of executive producing Power Rangers (which is set for release in July 2016) due to “scheduling conflicts,” it looks like the cameras will start rolling in spring or summer 2015, with a summer 2016 release date likely to follow.
Now an intriguing new detail may have emerged regarding the plot and potential casting for Star Trek 3. Badass Digest reports that the current draft of the script for Star Trek 3 includes a scene in which Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner would be reunited onscreen as the older versions of Mr. Spock and Captain Kirk. If true, this would mark Shatner’s first appearance in the official Star Trek canon (outside of video games) since 1994’s Star Trek: Generations.
Those who followed the development of the Star Trek reboot closely may remember that there was originally a scene for Shatner written into the 2009 film (it’s available to read online), but it was ultimately cut out of the final draft of the script. Speaking about the omission in an interview with MTV shortly after the release of the film, Orci explained that the scene had been cut because, “We didn’t want it to be a gimmick; we wanted to really bring him back in the right way.”
Coupled with this latest report, it seems like Orci may have decided that the time is now right to bring the classic edition of Kirk back. Badass Digest describes the scene in which he appears as “plot-driven and integral,” to the point where it’s more likely to stick around than his planned cameo for Star Trek. It’s currently unclear whether or not Shatner has agreed to appear in the film, but one of the reasons that he ended up being cut from the first movie – according to Abrams – was that he refused to just do a cameo and wanted the movie to “focus on him significantly.” Shatner later denied ever having said this.
If the new part for Shatner is big enough to tempt him over to Star Trek 3 then we could be seeing him back in uniform (or, at least, back in the role) by 2016. Bear in mind, however, that things could still change between now and the start of filming.
Star Trek 3 is expected to reach theaters in 2016.