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Star Trek XI logged for Xmas 2008 launch

Franchise reboot to boldly cast Matt Damon as Kirk?

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Paramount Pictures has confirmed the next Star Trek movie will be released on Christmas Day 2008.

J J Abrams (producer/director of Mission Impossible: III and creator of TV's Lost) will helm the Star Trek XI film, which will see the classic series Enterprise crew of Kirk, Spock and McCoy played by a new generation of actors. Paramount confirmed that Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, who worked with Abrams on MI:3, will write the script for the film, but the cast remains unconfirmed.

Of course, that hasn't stopped feverish speculation among trekkers about who will play the three lead roles. IGN Movies cites studio sources in speculating that the roles of James T Kirk, Mr Spock and Dr McCoy may go Matt Damon (The Departed, Bourne Identity), Adrien Brody (The Pianist and Gary Sinise (Forest Gump, Apollo 13). Scottish actor James McAvoy (Last King of Scotland) is rumoured to have landed the role of chief engineer Montgomery "Scotty" Scott.

There can be few quibbles about the casting of Oscar winners Brody and Sinise, but its hard to see Matt Damon as space lothario James T Kirk. An accomplished actor when well cast, Damon carries the unfortunate burden of looking about 15. We'd suggest Damon's writing partner on Good Will Hunting, Ben Affleck, or Nathan Fillion (Serenity) might be better choices.

Providing the script is up to snuff, both William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy have hinted they might be interested in cameos in Star Trek XI as older versions of their iconic characters. But first the film will have to escape the curse of odd-number Star Trek films.

The best films in the franchise thus far - Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home and Star Trek: First Contact - have all been even numbered films while the odd number films have all been a bit naff or, well, odd - especially the real clunker that was Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. ®

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