With Paramount announcing Roberto Orci's replacement as director of the upcoming Star Trek 3, we look back at ten other times when studios and suits played musical chairs with their filmmakers.
Over the weekend, in a low key announcement it hoped would fly way under the PR radar, producing studio Paramount announced that Roberto Orci, the director responsible for handling the third film in the newly rebooted Star Trek franchise, had been relieved of his duties. For some, this was expected. Orci is a famed screenwriter, and he's at least partially responsible (with former writing partner Alex Kurtzman and filmmaker J.J. Abrams) for invigorating the beloved sci-fi series' stalled fortunes.
On the other hand, he had never directed a feature film before. Also, Orci provoked the anger of Trek Nation by browbeating the fanbase over the affection (or lack thereof) for 2013's Khan-oriented Into Darkness. It was a gamble. While he said all the right things during the original honeymoon media phase, apparently he was not prepared for an assignment of this magnitude.
Now, as Paramount struggles to find someone to fill his shoes (and get things rolling to meet the 2016 release date coinciding with Star Trek's 50th Anniversary), we can take a moment to look back on this relatively regular trend. Indeed, almost since the beginning of film, the studio system is full of stories about directors being replaced or removed from movies. Even some of the most popular films of all time, including several classics, had such rocky starts.
Of course, there are other instances where the changing of the guard, so to speak, led to nothing short of disaster. We don't envy Paramount and its current position. Star Trek 3 was always a make-or-break project, either setting the new series off for several more successful adventures or killing it before it could rebuild its fanbase. As some of the examples here argue, there's no equating change with triumph. Usually.