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Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci to Return to Write Next 'Star Trek' (Exclusive)

After flirting with new writers, Paramount has shifted gears and is returning to the duo that breathed new life into the moribund franchise. J.J. Abrams is in negotiations to produce.

Kurtzman Orci Headshot - H 2012
Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci

Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci will boldly go where they've gone before.

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The two are in negotiations to write and produce the next Star Trek outing for Paramount and Skydance Productions. The duo co-wrote the previous two installments for director J.J. Abrams, who is also in negotiations to produce Star Trek 3 through his Bad Robot shingle. Damon Lindelof also shared writing credit on this summer's Star Trek Into Darkness. Sources say Lindelof will not be back for the third chapter of the rebooted franchise.

Though the project is shrouded in secrecy, as had been the case with Into Darkness, reports have surfaced in recent weeks that the studio would tap new writers for Star Trek 3 and had met with Ashley Edward Miller and Zack Stentz (Thor, X Men: First Class) to possibly pen. Rumors swirled that other young writing teams were being courted for their takes. But Paramount shifted gears recently and is returning to the duo that breathed new life into the moribund franchise. The tricky part was getting Kurtzman and Orci to find a gap in their schedules to write. In addition to their sprawling TV empire, they have been busy on the film front as part of their two-year first-look deal with Universal that has them rebooting The Mummy and Van Helsing. Abrams' role as producer also comes as a something of a surprise given that he is getting ready to helm Star Wars.

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The next Star Trek film is untitled and unscheduled, but Paramount and Skydance are eager to continue the franchise, which will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2016. Stars Chris PineZachary Quinto and Zoe Saldana are expected to return. Though Star Trek Into Darkness earned $451 million worldwide to date, it hasn't turned a profit yet thanks to a $190 million budget. Still, the studio was heartened by the ever-important international performance of Into Darkness, which was nearly twice as much as 2009's Star Trek's international haul.

Kurtzman and Orci are handled by CAA and attorney Michael Gendler. Abrams is repped by CAA, Oasis and attorneys James Jackoway and Alan Wertheimer

E-mail: Tatiana.Siegel@THR.com
Twitter: @TatianaSiegel27