J.J. Abrams is currently at the center of the geek universe. Abrams directed the upcoming Star Trek Into Darkness, his next project is Star Wars: Episode VII, and he’s one of the producers of the hottest sci-fi TV series on television at the moment, NBC’s Revolution. In an interview with Playboy (NSFW), Abrams talks about all of his upcoming projects, with an emphasis on Star Wars: Episode VII. Abrams will be the first director other than George Lucas to helm a Star Wars movie since Richard Marquand on 1983’s Return of the Jedi. Needless to say, there are a lot of expectations hanging on him. Abrams tells Playboy:
It’s so early it would be insane to discuss details or get into plot points about what this unfilmed movie will be. And I’m not going to give my opinion on the original movies or characters… I try to approach a project from what it’s asking. What does it need to be? What is it demanding? With Star Wars, one has to take into account what has preceded it, what worked, what didn’t. There are cautionary tales for anything you take on that has a legacy—things you look at and think, I want to avoid this or that, or I want to do more of something. But even that feels like an outside-in approach, and it’s not how I work. For me, the key is when you have a script; it’s telling you what it wants to be.
When J.J. Abrams was hired to direct Episode VII, some fans thought it was sci-fi blasphemy for the same person to direct both a Star Wars movie and a Star Trek movie. And, let’s face it, there are plenty out there who aren’t fans of his take on Star Trek, and worry what he’ll do to Star Wars. Some fear that Abrams might make each property look too similar to each other. Abrams hopes to put fans’ minds at ease, and says that George Lucas will be a great source of encouragement and direction for the new project.
As with anything, because these are very different worlds, they shouldn’t feel the same aesthetically. They can’t. You’re right. But again, I don’t apply aesthetics first and fit a movie into that aesthetic. If I had come into Star Trek with those eyes, I would probably have been paralyzed. The advantage here is that we still have George Lucas with us to go to and ask questions and get his feedback on things, which I certainly will do. With Star Trek it was harder because I wasn’t a Star Trek fan; I didn’t have the same emotional feeling, and I didn’t have Gene Roddenberry to go to. But I came to understand the world of Star Trek, and I appreciated what fans felt and believed about this universe and this franchise.
As for Star Trek, Abrams also expresses interest in returning for the series’ third installment. It was believed that since he would be so busy with Star Wars: Episode VII, he wouldn’t be able to commit to directing Star Trek 3. Abrams doesn’t want to be left out of the conversation when it comes to Star Trek. “I would say it’s a possibility,” says Abrams. “We’re trying to figure out the next step. But it’s like anything: It all begins with the story.”
Star Trek Into Darkness will hit theaters on May 17th, in 3D and IMAX.