Star Trek 3 could hit cinemas as early as 2016, to mark the 50th anniversary of the original Gene Roddenberry series. JJ Abrams' sci-fi sequel Star Trek Into Darkness is among the most highly anticipated film of the year, though it appears attention is already turning to the third in the franchise (despite Abrams intentions to direct Star Wars Episode 7 for Disney).

The filmmaker's Star Trek producing partner Bryan Burk told Digital Spy about what fans can expect from the third 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 [2016] is going to be a big year to celebrate, hopefully."

The anniversary year of 2016 certainly makes sense for a Star Trek 3 release, though with Star Wars planned for late 2015, it's sounds highly likely that Abrams will be in no position to direct the third film. Production would probably start in early 2015 at the latest, by which time Abrams will be deep into Star Wars for Disney. Recent reports suggest he will be directing original stars Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill, which has divided opinion in the Star War fan world. 

'Star Trek Into Darkness' hits theaters on May 17, 2013.

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