One of the big questions for Trekkies is how long will we have to wait for the next movie following Star Trek Into Darkness? According to producer Bryan Burk, it may not be four years (like the wait since 2009’s Star Trek). He is now hinting the next Trek could be out in time for the 50th anniversary of the franchise in 2016.
Next Star Trek as soon as 2016?
On Friday Star Trek Into Darkness producer (and JJ Abrams’ partner in Bad Robot Productions) Bryan Burk was in London to show European press the same 38 minutes of the movie he shared with the Latin American press in Brazil earlier in the week (see TrekMovie spoiler article from that event). In London Burk spoke to Digital Spy about Into Darkness and he also talked about the future of the franchise, hinting that we may not have to wait to long for the next Star Trek…
Given that the Gene Roddenberry series debuted in 1966 and we’ve just had a huge Bond 50-year anniversary celebration – has Paramount been talking to you about making a 2016 release date for the next Star Trek film?
"We’re definitely talking about the next one, but we haven’t talked about a release date. We don’t want to wait four years, the same amount of time between the last one and this one, but it’s going to be a big year to celebrate, hopefully."
So Bad Robot will still be able to balance working on both Star Trek and Star Wars?
"Yeah. Obviously they’re completely different universes, they’re completely different films. The only thing in common is the word ‘Star’, which is why we’re going to do the Ringo Starr movie as well. We’ll corner the market!"
Burk also talked about the kind of Star Trek references in Into Darkness that only the fans will recognize…
You created a new timeline with Star Trek in 2009, will there be a lot of referencing back to the original series and movies for those fans?
"Yes, one of the things is that the movie will always be for Star Trek fans. In the process of all us five producers working together, Roberto Orci and Damon Lindelof, to a slightly lesser extent, are crazy-hardcore Trekkies. They understand the world so we had long conversations where they put things in and would be laughing hysterically. I had no clue why they were! There are tonnes of references and nods."
Producer/director JJ Abrams on "Into Darkness" set with co-writer/producer Alex Kurtzman
Could Next Trek be in 2016?
Burk’s comments are very intriguing. We know that JJ Abrams is set to direct the next Star Wars movie, which will be coming out in 2015 – two years after Star Trek Into Darkness. Two years is about the time it takes for a big film to go from development to release. The reason there was a four year gap between Abrams’ two Treks was due to other projects for himself and Burk (movies like Super 8, Mission Impossible IV, and TV shows like Revolution), as well as other projects for his collaborators (including Cowboys & Aliens for Lindelof, Orci and Kurtzman).
While in theory Paramount could probably get a new Star Trek movie out by 2015 (with a new director and possibly even without Burk and Abrams) it seems unlikely as that would end up going head to head with JJ Abrams Star Wars movie. Waiting until 2017 would give Abrams and his team plenty of time, including allowing JJ to start on the film after completing with Star Wars. But Burk says no one wants to wait four years again and 2016 has a historical significance.
The problem is that Summer 2016 is only a year after the release of Star Wars Episode VII. The only way to make that date would be for Abrams to start shooting the next Star Trek film during that same summer. That means finalizing pre-production on his Star Trek movie at the same time he would be finalizing post-production his Star Wars movie. And it was exactly that kind of overlap with the Star Trek sequel and Super 8 that got the Trek sequel (originally planned for Summer 2012) delayed in the first place.
The two mostly likely options for Bad Robot to get a Star Trek movie out in 2016 would be to bring in a new director (with Abrams and Burk producing) or to shoot for a holiday 2016 release with Abrams directing (and finding other ways to mitigate the Star Wars/Star Trek overlap of a few months).
An Abrams-directed Star Trek movie for summer 2016 is theoretically possible, but it would take a major effort on his part and likely require him to forego working on other projects besides Star Trek and Star Wars for the next three years.
For now we will have to just wait and see but Burk’s comments about not waiting for four years are promising.