Mexican screenwriter and producer Roberto Orci has emerged as the frontrunner to direct the third instalment of the Star Trek franchise.

If Orci signs on to replace J.J. Abrams, the movie will serve as his directorial debut, according to

The news comes weeks after Orci ended his movie screenwriting partnership with Alex Kurtzman. The duo will continue to work together on Tv projects.

The in-demand movie mogul was among the producers of both 2009's Star Trek and last year's (13) sequel Star Trek Into Darkness.

Abrams dropped out of directing the third Star Trek film, after he signed on to helm the reboot of the Star Wars franchise.