J.J. Abrams Talks Star Trek 3 And The Future Of The Franchise

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J.J. Directing Star TrekWith the release of Star Trek Into Darkness firmly in all U.S. theaters, it’s time to start the countdown to its sequel film, Star Trek 3. Although J.J. Abrams next film will be Star Wars: Episode VII for Disney and Lucasfilm, the 46-year-old director haven’t completely ruled out returning to the director’s chair for Star Trek 3.

In an interview with TrekMovie.com, J.J. Abrams confirmed that there have been no formal discussions of Star Trek 3, despite what his producing-partner has said about the third film in the Star Trek reboot film series. If there were a third film in the works (and honestly why wouldn’t there be considering that the main cast has signed on for three Star Trek movies), a 2016 release date would be ideal for the upcoming 50th anniversary of Star Trek. Abrams explained:

“What I would say is that it feels like 2016 would be a great year given the celebration of the anniversary. But again I am open to whatever is the best possible version of the movie. Meaning if there is a great script and the story is there and it’s possible to release that movie in 2015, then great. If we don’t figure it out until a release for 2017–we don’t want a bad movie to come out just because there is a release date. That is true with everything. I would hope the right movie would come out in the right time.”

One of the reasons Star Trek Into Darkness was released in 2013 instead of 2012 like originally expected was that J.J. Abrams didn’t want to rush the film’s production if the story and script weren’t up to his standards. It’s reasonable to believe that same idea would be extended to Star Wars: Episode VII and Star Trek 3.

When asked about directing Star Trek 3 after Star Wars: Episode VII, Abrams offered up his take on the situation. He explains if the timetable on the films goes according to plan without any delays, then most likely there would be a new face in the director’s chair for Star Trek 3. Abrams continued:

“If they want in that period of time and if Star Wars goes forward as planned, it would obviously be a conflict. It depends when this movie would happen. And again as no formal discussions have started it is impossible to know. But in all likelihood if there is a movie sooner, there will be a different director on the film. It would be something we would all get together and agree on. We love this and care about it too much and want to make sure it is handled correctly. But I would say that having directed pilots and movies and then having seen subsequent directors work on those shows or do their own versions of those films – time and again I have seen it done better. And so I’m looking forward–if there is another director–it will be interesting to see. I am certain I will learn lessons watching their work.”

It doesn’t seem like it would be possible for J.J. Abrams to direct both Star Wars: Episode VII and Star Trek 3, so maybe it’s a good idea to see someone else take over the Star Trek franchise. There are plenty of other great genre directors to take Abrams’ place if need be.


  1. Sure. Why not let Christopher Nolan toss the last shovel full of dirt on the grave.

  2. If you didn’t enjoy “Into Darkness” then you seriously need to lighten up. It was a great film and an improvement on 2009’s “Star Trek”.

    That being said, don’t knock Nolan.

    Interested to see what happens.

    • Jim Starkweather says:

      Warning — SPOILERS AHEAD!!! – Unlike some hard-core Trek fans (and I have been watching the show since about 1972 or so as a kid), I actually loved Star Trek (2009). That you see this latest film as an improvement is amazing to me. It was predictable, beyond believable at parts, and not really as charming as the 2009 film. It also seemed to have a political message buried in the mix. A stupid message as well. If there was any *actual* lesson to be learned from the events of Into Darkness it would be that if you find a bunch of frozen terrorists from 250 years ago you kill them all and save yourself a lot of death and aggravation. Sorry but Peter Weller’s character was so two dimensional it was beyond reason. And there were so many contrivances in the movie that JJ Abrams could have thrown a Death Star through the holes he made in the plot to get from point A to point B. Also Spocks “KHAN!” scream at the end was cheesy and badly timed. Was I entertained? Yes. Was I amazed? Far from it.

      • Thør says:


        I too enjoyed the 2009 film. I felt it was a welcome change to what Star Trek had become. It was brilliantly passed, great action, great music, and a great cast!

        I definitely think that this film was harder to enjoy for an old fan than a new one tho. Especially with the mirrored scenes from ‘Wrath of Khan’, all i could think as I watched that ‘moving’ scene was.. this was done better last time.. I then found myself comparing it to the 1982 Wrath of Khan (which is something they invite when doing mirror scenes) and I found that on every level the 1982 film was superior.

        This was disappointing for me as I am a long time advocate of the 2009 film and have encouraged many long time ST fans and ST haters alike to watch that film. Not a bad film, but not a great one either.

        Note for future films, don’t re-use material, especially such iconic material. There are whole years on the 5 year mission that werent even covered originally.. come up with something new and create something amazing.

        • Andrew Reese says:

          I agree. I loved the movie, but found the engineering scene not as good as the “original”. It sort of took me out of the movie.

    • Disagree it was better than the first one. It certainly wasn’t in the league of Wrath of Khan. I like this re-imagining, and like the direction JJ has taken it. I’d be happy to watch another film of his, but I would like some other writers to take a shot at the script.

      I want to see something more Star Treky and less Michael Bay-y.

  3. How about for directors bring in Levar Burton, Jonathan Frakes, Gates McFadden, or Rene Auberjonois? All did at least one episode of Star Trek, Jonathan Frakes has done several moives.

    • Jesus: version buddha 3.9 says:

      They’re not at all top-notch directors, but it does have to be said, we don’t know whether or not Frakes is capable of managing a huge budget until he’s given one. First Contact remains the best movie of them all in my book.

      The studios won’t go backward now though. And besides, based on interviews I’ve seen, the cast of TNG is for the most part woefully under informed about the Original Series.

  4. Brian H says:

    I enjoyed Into Darkness quite a bit. It wasn’t Wraith of Khan by any means but somehow Abrams managed to retell the story of the most iconic Star Trek film without sh*tting all over it and coming off like a pale imitation. Perhaps because it wasn’t as much of a retelling as it was a re-imagining. As a Marvel guy I could really appreciate this is a sort of one off alternative universe story where you are asked what are Marcus and Khan like in this universe where Nero and Spock came back in time and created a butterfly effect? How do they in turn effect the Enterprise crew? I found that very enjoyable.

    In a lot of ways for me I would also say it felt more “trek” than the previous film. The relationships were much stronger and I thought Pine’s characterization felt much more like Shatner’s Kirk without being a pale pantomime. Of course some characters got a bit down played (Bones and Chekov) and I do understand the complaints about the mirror scene at the end with Kirk and Spock switching roles as being no where near as powerful as in the original. I can’t quite decide what to make of Quinto’s Spock, in some ways he feels more like T’pol- not a bad performance but it feels more forced than Nimoy ever did. The biggest issue for many of the faithful I’m sure is the lack of harder science and philosophy but I would argue that that always worked for better for Trek on the small screen than on the big screen

    Finally, to close this lengthy comment, the film may have been strongest in the opening 15 minutes. It was so much fun. It was Trek but more visually stunning than it has ever been before. The differences for me were like TOG vs TNG- it was a tasteful update that worked and made me want more. Sure it was much more action and SFX but the exploration, the moral decisions and the wit and chemistry among the characters were all great. I would watch that on a weekly basis and I stopped getting cable and watching television more than a year ago. Abrams has done a fine job of setting up this universe but I think it is time to let others take the characters (and hopefully the actors) and give us a new weekly series with more of the science and philosophy.

  5. I would rather see him hand it over to someone else. I’m a big Trek fan and I like the new films, Into the Darkness much better then 09, but they feel to action driven and I know this is a business and that’s what the masses want but still I would like to seem them hand it over to someone who would slow things down and focus more on the characters then the action.

    • Jesus:version buddha 3.9 says:

      Now that Abrams has finally fell in love with Trek, I find myself a little afraid that he might give it to someone else – It will be the same universe with a new director, the same alternate timeline, the same strengths and the same problems. But the director ma not be as talented, or might just be plain worse. I’d like him to make it a trilogy and end it.

      That said, I really don’t give a fuck what they do as long as they put a new series on Netflix or on television. Sheesh.

      • bhak1 says:

        I disagree, I have no issue with the visual style (even the lens flares!), universe or characterizations (well, Quinto can be too cold at times, but it’s not a deal breaker). As a disclaimer I would call my feelings on Abrams Trek “I like it, but…”. The “but” is that I miss the philosophical components and allegories but I think the franchise works better on the small screen especially when we’re talking about those areas. That all said, I think the best think Abrams has done is refresh the series and lay down a framework. At this point if you pull in good writers and directors to put out an hour long episode once a week while hopefully keeping the actors and FX team you would have something really wonderful. People will say that the diehards don’t like the “new Trek” but the same thing happened with TNG when it first came out.

  6. Baron B. says:

    It won’t happen. Abrams left the Trek franchise because CBS controlled the rights to merchandising. They discovered that they would lose money if they geared towards Abrams Trek. The merchandising money is all with the Trekkies and they hate Abrams. With Star Wars he will get to exert all control over merchandising and rake in millions for himself, something he couldnt do with Star Trek. When will you guys at Big Freakin Robot admit that you are an internet publicity arm of Bad Robot?

  7. I would Rather there be no more Star Trek Films. It’s obvious no one has a clue what Star Trek is, and nor do they care. he Sad fact is every film (Look it up) have made money, and the sad fact is apparently they will beat this horse until it is dead. Cut your loses, give it a rest, because no one has a clue.

  8. Philip says:

    There are plenty of better directors who can take over Episode VII.