J.J. Abrams is in negotiations to return as a producer but will not direct this pic -- since he's directing the next "Star Wars" film, the studio is forced to look elsewhere.
The studio had looked at possibly giving the assignment to another writing duo, including "X-Men: First Class" scribes Ashley Edward Miller and Zack Stentz, but ultimately went back to Kurtzman and Orci for the job.
The studio will now look for a director.
Kurtzman and Orci are repped by CAA,
The Hollywood Reporter broke the news.
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