When Lucasfilm was looking for a new director to take the helm for Star Wars: Episode VII, there were many qualified candidates to choose from. No one thought J.J. Abrams would take the job because of his duties with Star Trek, but lo and behold, when Kathleen Kennedy and Lucasfilm came calling, Abrams jumped franchises. So where does that leave Star Trek?
Many fans believe that it’s near sacrilege for someone to crossover from Star Trek to Star Wars. How could one person direct a Star Trek movie then direct a Star Wars movie next? That’s crazy talk. Abrams has always been a lifelong Star Wars fan, but he also has love for Gene Roddenberry’s most famous creation. In a recent interview with Tavis Smiley, Abrams talks about his devotion to both science fiction properties. He explained:
That’s crazy. I would say this: as someone who has become a late in life Trekkie, I really think there’s room for both these things. It’s funny because ‘Star Trek’ in some ways informs ‘Star Wars’. We did ‘Star Trek’…my love of ‘Star Wars’, the energy of it and sort of the comedy and rhythm of it I think affected ‘Star Trek’. They’re such different worlds though. The stories, the characters, the universes. One is sort of our future, much more science based in theory. ‘Star Wars’ is like a fairy tale that happens to take place in space. They’re very different beasts.
Star Wars is obviously very different from Star Trek, and there has always been a divide between fans of both franchises. Trek seems to be more hard science fiction, while Star Wars leans more towards the fantasy side of things. The only things the two franchises have in common are in their titles; they both share the word “star.” That’s really where there similarities end, but fans of each still seem unsure about having J.J. Abrams at the center of it all.
Some Star Trek fans feel that Abrams abandoned them for the sexier science fiction property, but really I think Lucasfilm offered him an opportunity to direct a Star Wars movie. Considering that Abrams is a lifelong fan of the Saga, why wouldn’t he take the opportunity to fulfill a boyhood dream. It seems like he’s in a tough position, but ultimately he had to take up Lucasfilm on the offer. I’m a fan of both, but I’m skeptical that Abrams was the right choice to direct Episode VII.
There’s a saying in Hollywood; you’re only good as your last movie. If that’s true, then Abrams is only as good as Star Trek Into Darkness, which wasn’t his greatest outing. Considering that George Lucas has guidelines for Star Wars: Episode VII, perhaps it will be a better film than Star Trek Into Darkness, but I’ll remain skeptical until I see the new film.