Back when J.J. Abrams was first attached to direct ‘Star Wars: Episode VII’, Paramount Vice Chairman Rob Moore declared that he would still be involved with the new films in both the ‘Mission: Impossible’ and ‘Star Trek’ franchises. However, while they said that he would still be involved, there was no official word on if he would return to the director’s chair for either film. Now, it seems like we have confirmation that he’ll be passing that job off to someone else for at least one of those projects.

At the Blu-ray launch party for ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’, Abrams confirmed to Collider in an interview that he would not be directing ‘Star Trek 3’. Despite that, he said that he would still be staying on as a producer to provide any help that he can such as giving input on the script to writers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci. Here’s what the filmmaker had to say about his departure:

COLLIDER: J.J., how important was it for you to stay involved with the franchise, even though you won’t be available to direct the next film? Does it feel a bit like you’re sending your baby away to college?

ABRAMS: It’s a little bittersweet. But, I will say that I’m going to be producing the movie. Whomever it is that directs the film will be someone we all know is going to keep the cast and crew in good hands. I feel very lucky to have been part of it, and it definitely feels like the right time to let someone come in and do their own thing. I certainly don’t want someone to come in and try to do what I would have done. We want to hire someone who’s gonna come in and bring their own sensibility. I’m very excited to see what comes next, despite feeling jealous of whomever that person is.

Now, the question remains: If J.J. Abrams isn’t directing the next ‘Star Trek’ movie, then who is? There are a number of talents directors in the business today, but I feel like some of the best are tied up at the moment with other projects. To name a few, Edgar Wright is about to start on ‘Ant-Man’, Brad Bird is shooting ‘Tomorrowland’, Guillermo Del Toro has ‘Crimson Peak’, and Christopher Nolan is putting together ‘Interstellar’. Of course, there are a ton of capable filmmakers who could certainly handle the massive undertaking that is a ‘Star Trek’ film, but now the task is to find one who’s up for the challenge.

Are you disappointed that J.J. Abrams has stepped away from directing ‘Star Trek 3’? Who do you think should fill his shoes as the new director? Share your picks in the comments below.