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J.J. Abrams Is Directing Star Wars: Episode VII

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'Star Trek' Photocall

Well, this ought to make the comments section lively tonight. Ever since the Disney/Lucasfilm buyout was announced at the end of October, the biggest question of all has been, who will direct it? Now we know: it’s reported that J.J. Abrams will direct Star Wars: Episode VII, meaning he’ll soon have two of the biggest franchises of all time on his resume.

The news comes by way of The Wrap, who cite “an individual with knowledge of the production.” They also say that Ben Affleck, who has helmed films such as Argo, The Town, and Gone Baby Gone, was one of the close contenders as well.

Abrams’ name has been one of the most speculated over these past few months, but it was considered unlikely since he’s currently playing in Gene Roddenberry’s sandbox with the upcoming Star Trek Into Darkness. Does this mean the inevitable next Trek sequel will be handed off to somebody else? That would certainly put a smile on the fans who don’t like Abrams’ brand of Trek. Or could he actually be planning to play in both universes? At this point he’s only being mentioned for Episode VII, so there’s no telling whether Disney wants him to stay on for the entire new Star Wars trilogy.

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J.J. Abrams On Keeping Things Spoiler-Free

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STAR TREK

Director J.J. Abrams has always been a man of mystery. From the Rambaldi mysteries of Alias to the air-tight secrecy surrounding Star Trek Into Darkness, Abrams has always been surprisingly successful at keeping his secrets secret, a notable accomplish in the era of the internet. Whether you find it refreshing or annoying, Abrams has stuck to his guns with this approach, even if it was to the detriment of the final product.

In an interview with EW, Abrams explains his approach to storytelling and the success he’s seen from being so enigmatic. Abrams told EW:

Why do I want to see [a behind-the-scenes element of the film] if it’s something I don’t even understand yet? Let me experience it so I know what the movie is and have the opportunity to get sucked into that experience, and feel like, ‘Oh my god, that world is real, that ship is real, that battle is real … It’s only fun to keep things quiet when it finally comes out as scheduled, because then you feel like, ‘Oh I didn’t just spend six months ruining the movie for people. It’s not fun during the experience of withholding. Because then you sound like a coy bastard.’

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J.J. Abrams Turned Down The Star Wars Job Out Of Loyalty To Star Trek

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TrekWars

After Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm, pretty much every big-name director was mentioned as a possibility to helm the newly announced Star Wars: Episode VII. Unsurprisingly, that included J.J. Abrams, who of course rebooted the Star Trek franchise in 2009. Despite being a love-him-or-hate-him figure amongst fans, Abrams seemed like the sort of person who would be a shoe-in for the job. But as it turns out, Abrams turned down the job out of loyalty to his current space franchise.

In an interview with Empire Magazine, J.J. Abrams revealed the discussions he had with Disney, and why he opted out:

There were the very early conversations and I quickly said that because of my loyalty to Star Trek, and also just being a fan, I wouldn’t even want to be involved in the next version of those things. I declined any involvement very early on. I’d rather be in the audience not knowing what was coming, rather than being involved in the minutiae of making them.

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J.J. Abrams And Jon Favreau On Whether They Would Direct Star Wars: Episode VII

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The coveted grand prize of being named the director of Star Wars: Episode VII is pretty intimidating. Whoever gets the job will be under the public eye like few directors before them. Every decision they make will be dissected, scrutinized, and examined by both the fans and the media. Needless to say, despite the job’s appeal, it’s not a job all directors want. Who wants to risk being known as the director who ruined Star Wars? [I will not make a George Lucas joke. I will not. – Ed.]

In an interview, geek icon J.J. Abrams (Star Trek, Super 8) was asked if he was up for the job of directing the new Star Wars film. Despite his love of the property, Abrams says he would be reluctant to take the helm the reinvigorated space opera. Here are his comments, including a line that will probably get longtime Trek fans grabbing their pitchforks once again:

Look, Star Wars is one of my favorite movies of all time. I frankly feel that — I almost feel that, in a weird way, the opportunity for whomever it is to direct that movie, it comes with the burden of being that kind of iconic movie and series. I was never a big Star Trek fan growing up, so for me, working on Star Trek didn’t have any of that, you know, almost fatal sacrilege, and so, I am looking forward more than anyone to the next iterations of Star Wars, but I believe I will be going as a paying moviegoer!

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J.J. Abrams And Fringe’s J.H. Wyman Sold A Robot Show To Fox

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With Fringe wrapping up, Fox’s lineup is going to have a prime slot open in the category of “Intriguing New Science Fiction Series (That Will Most Likely Be Canceled).” Fox may be the Bermuda Triangle of Televised Science Fiction, but if anything has a serious shot at going the distance, it’s a show backed by J.J. Abrams and Fringe exec producer J.H. Wyman. The pair have just sold a new SF pilot to Fox, so let’s get going people; place your bets!

Abrams’ Bad Robot will be living up to its name with the futuristic new drama. Robots are at the center of the “action-packed buddy comedy,” set in a world where every LAPD officer is partnered with an android in the field. Wyman, who has worked on Fox’s Fringe since 2009, will be writing the show and serving as EP with Abrams and Bryan Burk.

Apparently Hollywood is hot for robots these days. The Fox project is second robot-themed show announced in the past week. The other is from former Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles showrunner Josh Friedman and genre vet Howard Gordon, and is set up at NBC. The chances of them both making it to air are probably slim, but they’ve both got proven talent attached to them so I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed that both succeed. “Too many awesome robot shows” is a problem I’m okay with having.

The Friedman/Gordon project also concerns subjects of robots and crime, focusing on the first ever robot-on-human murder. From the brief description of the Abrams/Wyman project, it sounds like it may be aiming for a lighter tone than Friedman and Gordon’s show.