Badass Digest is reporting that Paramount is considering the writing duo of Ashley Edward Miller and Zack Stentz to start work on the script for Star Trek 3. The pair are considered front runners due to the support of Star Trek writers and executive producers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman who will also be considered writers on the third movie script. Miller and Stenz's writing credits include the first Thor film, Agent Cody Banks, some work on X-Men: First Class, Andromeda, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and Fringe. The end result is they do have experience in the sci-fi genre. My guess is the four will create a rough outline, then Miler and Stenz will actually write the script with Orci and Kurtzman providing notes, tweaks and such to the drafts that follow.
It has been rumored that Paramount has been aiming for a 2016 release date for Star Trek 3 for the franchise's 50th Anniversary. This discussion occurring so soon makes me wonder if they may not actually be considering 2015 as a possible window. If so I recommend they look at Holidays 2015 as it would allow them to celebrate it as a 50th Anniversary release while avoiding what already appears to be a deadly summer 2015 calendar with Star Wars Episode VII, Man of Steel 2, Avengers: Age of Ultron and more. Star Trek 3 would be lost in that level of noise (as had many films already in 2013). Even if these writers do not get hired, the fact that Paramount is looking is the first real indication that they are serious about not waiting for Abrams and flat out avoiding another four year wait. The last time it was a wait for Abrams (to direct Super 8), then the writers as they finished various projects (People Like Us, Prometheus, etc) until the Trek "Supreme Court" could finally convene and work on the film. By adding to more "justices" to the court, it signals that if the other justices want to work on other projects, then fine but the studio is done waiting on them to finish them. If Paramount is looking "outside" the previous movies for writers, I would not be surprised if they doing the same for their list of directing candidates.
Speaking of Star Wars, the same report indicates that JJ Abrams is "on the verge of dropping out" of directing Episode VII. The rumored problems is Abrams is growing more angry with directives from Disney such as being forced to film in England. If true, this could allow Abrams to return to direct Star Trek 3. My first instinct is to call BS on this rumor. To be blunt, I just don't see Abrams turning down a dream job that also likely a financial windfall for him. Chances are he will make more money from directing Star Wars then he will from all his previous movies combined, at least if going by the nearly $100 million paydays that Michael Bay enjoyed for Transformers. I don't see Abrams giving up back end points on profits or a cut of the merchandising that will be sure to drown us by 2015. Nor do I see Paramount caring. I suspect that even if Abrams left Star Wars today, they would not offer the Star Trek 3 director's chair to him.
Having said that, I speculate that up till now Abrams has enjoyed near complete autonomy (by Hollywood standards). Disney simply isn't going give him that same level of control as A) they need a hit as their last several films have failed spectacularly, B) they are determined to get back their $4.05 billion investment in Lucasfilm as soon as possible, preferably with the release of the first film with merchandising, box office and home video sales (they really could recoup that sum with just one film) and C) even if the movie crashes and burns the merchandising along can reap huge rewards. The result is Abrams has a lot of high level egos to deal with from the entire breadth and width of Disney, each with their own demands. While I am sure he is use to high level egos, I doubt he has had to deal with the volume he has to fend off now while dealing with likely constant demands about the budget as Disney loathes to not spend a penny more then they have too. I guarantee he is fending off input from odd sources like adding scenes that could be used as a park attraction or throwing in more aliens for action figures, Lego needs more ship models, and wouldn't it be great if there was a cute cuddly creature like the Ewoks so can start using them in kids toys and park costumes. I suspect he is in synergy hell but he will stick it out.
Update: Lucasfilm has issued a statement denying the rumor: "There is no truth to the rumor. J.J. is having a great time working on the script and is looking forward to going into production next year."