Could Roberto Orci Really Be Directing Star Trek 3?

Roberto Orci played a huge role in revitalizing the struggling Star Trek franchise with the 2009 reboot, which he co-wrote. And now, according to Variety, he's lobbying to direct the third Trek movie, which J.J. Abrams is too busy to helm himself.

Somehow we missed this bit, buried in an article about Orci and his longtime writing partner Alex Kurtzman dissolving their partnership, at least on the movie side. Kurtzman is already set to direct Venom, the Amazing Spider-Man spin-off movie which he co-wrote with Orci and Ed Solomon. (Kurzman already directed a smaller film called People Like Us.) And Variety adds:

Orci is currently laser focused on the upcoming "Star Trek 3." He's already been tapped to pen the picture along with Patrick McKay and John D. Payne, and he's lobbying heavily to direct the production. The film's co-producers, J.J. Abrams' Bad Robot and David Ellison's Skydance, appear to be in favor of Orci helming the film, but people familiar with the situation say that Paramount is being cautious. If Orci lands the assignment, "Star Trek 3" would mark his directorial debut.

As ScreenRant points out, Paramount is going to be under a lot of pressure to get this picture out by 2016 (the 50th anniversary of Trek) and Orci already knows the rebooted universe inside and out. And Orci's spent plenty of time on film-sets as a result of writing so many films.

And yet... I'm not sure a Star Trek movie should be anyone's directorial debut. This isn't about Orci personally — he's as strong a candidate as any first-time director could be. But given the complexity and challenges involved in making something as massive as Star Trek, you probably need someone who's done this before. True, both Leonard Nimoy and Jonathan Frakes were first-time movie directors when they took on Trek, but they'd both done a lot of television directing. And VFX have gotten a lot more complicated since 1996, when Frakes did First Contact.

I guess the thing I'd worry about most with a first-time director tackling a Trek movie in this day and age is that the characters and their interactions would get lost in action set pieces and CG effects. That's a hazard with any big-budget movie — but it's especially problematic with Star Trek, which lives or dies based on how much we buy into the relationships, especially the core triad of Kirk, Spock and McCoy. [Varietyvia Screen Rant]