Star Trek 3: Five Possible Directors To Replace J.J. Abrams

Now that it's official from Disney, that Star Trek Into Darkness director J.J. Abrams will direct Star Wars Episode VII, who will direct Star Trek 3? Paramount intends to keep Abrams involved with the franchise, and he's contracted to oblige, but apparently even the studio is dubious that the filmmaker could direct both at once, saying that he'll remain attached "at least as a producer."

So...if he's not directing, who would be the next logical choice?

Yes, it seems a bit early to consider this question -- especially because we haven't yet seen Star Trek Into Darkness and don't know how much it leaves open-ended and in need of resolution -- but according to J.J. Abrams himself, everybody is signed on to do three movies. Given the popularity of trilogies in cinema culture, it's likely that the second film was structured in such a way to give way to a third that will close out the first act of the J.J. Abrams-led Star Trek reboot.

Still, it's the obvious question to ask--and it's always fun to make some...well, baseless suggestions, if not actually informed speculation.

Colin TrevorrowColin Trevorrow

Why not start here? After all, with J.J. Abrams having admitted to bringing a Star Wars sensibility to the Star Trek franchise, and a Star Wars director hunt having ended with Abrams, perhaps some of the other people on the Lucasfilm/Disney watch list are worth looking at. While Star Trek is probably a bit too futuristic and "clean" for somebody like Guillermo del Toro, and Brad Bird's sensibilities seem to run too far to the personal and familial to do an overtly political, military story, Colin Trevorrow is a fresh, new voice in science fiction and by the time they'd be ready to start filming, the chances are good he will be finished with his Flight of the Navigator remake.

Even better, because that gives him some hands-on experience working in big budget, big effects space drama. Kind of like...

James Gunn

This assumes, of course, that Guardians of the Galaxy is a rip-roaring success, but it's probably not a bad thing to assume. Gunn has found success everywhere he's gone so far, and so has Marvel--plus, Joss Whedon's direct involvement in his friend's movie virtually guarantees neither of them is going to do anything to make the other look stupid.

In any event, if Guardians of the Galaxy is a hit, wouldn't it make sense for Paramount to be at least a little tempted to poach a promising young director right out of a Disney franchise, to kind of even the score?

Plus, you know--success wherever he's gone. That doesn't hurt either.

Steven Soderbergh

Sure, his last sci-fi epic was a massive flop that bored everyone to tears--but Soderbergh is a phenomenal director and even while being bored, most of us couldn't help but look at Solaris and think how great the movie LOOKED.

And lest there be any confusion--that one movie may have been slow, but look to Out of Sight, The Limey and Ocean's Eleven for  evidence Soderbergh knows what he's doing directing big action backed by humor and human emotion.

In fact, he may have been a better choice than anyone ever gave him credit for, for Star Wars Episode VII...!

Ron Howard

Following his abortive attempt to bring Stephen King's Dark Tower epic to the big (and small) screen, nobody seems better prepared to jump right into rejuvenating a stalled franchise than Ron Howard. If, in the absence of Abrams's directorial eye, the project finds itself lacking a "big picture" vision, Howard is ideally positioned to help lend it that.

Additionally, ever since the success of Star Trek in 2009, there's been a vocal group of fans who want a TV series. That's how the series began, of course, and it seemed to be Abrams's desire to micromanage the franchise that was keeping it from happening. Perhaps, in the absence of the Star-man, Howard could apply some of that same cross-medium synergy he had planned out for Dark Tower to Star Trek.

Matthew VaughnMatthew Vaughn

It's really too bad, since something like X-Men: Days of Future Past (which he bailed on) would have been a very close match for the kind of scope and ambition you want to see take on Star Trek...but between the body of work he's put out in the last several years, and the degree of enthusiasm with which the rumors were met when everyone thought he was doing Star Wars...well, Paramount would be foolish not to at least get Vaughn in the door for an interview, and ask him what his plans might be when The Secret Service wraps.

Then again, he did just leave a franchise in midstream. That may not leave the best taste in Paramount's mouth right about now.