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‘Star Trek’ film to launch Dec. ’08

Prequel to focus on a young Kirk and Spock

Trekkers can look forward to a very merry Christmas in 2008.

Paramount announced Tuesday it will release J.J. Abrams’ “Star Trek XI” on Christmas Day next year, resurrecting the cult franchise after a six-year hiatus.

Newest installment, a prequel focusing on a young Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock, is the first to be slotted for release on the holiday.

Abrams, who has been developing the project, is set to begin lensing in the fall. He is producing with his “Lost” co-creator Damon Lindelof.

Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci are penning the script; they collaborated with Abrams when writing “Mission: Impossible III.” They will also take exec producing credits, along with Bryan Burk.

The 10 “Star Trek” films have grossed more than $1 billion at the worldwide box office. The last, “Star Trek: Nemesis,” was released in 2002. Pic performed well below expectations, taking in $63.7 million worldwide.

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