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J.J. Abrams Regrets All That Star Trek Into Darkness/John Harrison Misdirection

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READ WITH CAUTION, SPOILERS FOR STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS BELOW!

To some people, Star Trek Into Darkness was either the most disappointing or the best movie of the summer season. The Star Trek sequel’s box office performance was considered moderate when compared to studio expectation, but some believe the film would’ve performed better if audiences knew what they were getting into before they watched the movie — namely, the nature of the film’s villain, played by Benedict Cumberbatch. About an hour into the film’s running time, it’s revealed that Cumberbatch’s John Harrison was, in fact, just a pseudonym for his true identity, Khan.

J.J. Abrams made a big deal about the villain’s identity before the film was released back in May. Every time he was asked a question about the character he would reply with a clever misdirection or just flat-out lie about Harrison’s true identity. In an interview with MTV, Abrams now says he feels it was a mistake to keep Khan’s identity a secret before the film was released.

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J.J. Abrams Says CBS Isn’t Interested In A New Star Trek TV Series

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HHWhether you like J.J. Abrams’ take on the Star Trek universe or not, there’s no question that his two films have put Trek back in the pop culture conversation in a major way. Abrams stepped away from the upcoming Star Trek 3 to helm Episode VII, the first film in a major new Star Wars push in the aftermath of Disney’s purchase of George Lucas’ iconic franchise. There’s a new trilogy, new spin-off movies, and even new TV series. That’s the same approach Disney and Marvel have used to great success, building a cohesive movie universe that’s also expanding into the TV landscape. But what about Paramount and CBS’ space franchise? Given that Star Trek started on TV and has continued through four spin-offs, you’d think the big-screen success would have led to a new series on the small screen. But when asked about the subject J.J. Abrams’ response about why it hasn’t happened is sort of stunning: he says CBS isn’t interested.

The folks at Entertainment Weekly were grilling Abrams about his latest hit, Fox’s excellent Almost Human, when the subject turned toward Marvel’s hit-or-miss Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. Given that both Marvel and DC are trying to conquer the TV landscape with multiple projects in development, EW asked the same question fans have been asking for ages now: when the hell are we getting a new TV series? Abrams said:

I have been hearing for as long as I can remember that CBS, who has the rights to the series, has just been saying they’re not interested. That’s the word I’ve been told. [A CBS Studios rep replied: “We love the Star Trek franchise, its fan base and the many possibilities for its future when the time is right.’]

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Samuel L. Jackson Says He And Mark Hamill Still Haven’t Gotten The Star Wars Call From J.J. Abrams

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mace winduAll right, everyone, you can put aside your ever-growing list of actors rumored to be involved with J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: Episode VII. Instead, you can grab your Bingo cards for former Star Wars actors who may or may not be returning to the franchise. This time, our update comes from Mace Windu himself, Samuel L. Jackson, who recently appeared in an episode of Late Night With David Letterman and shared a few tidbits about who hasn’t gotten the call to arms yet: namely, all the best Jedi.

When Letterman asked the inevitable question about Jackson’s involvement in the Star Wars universe, Jackson drew laughs with the disappointing news that neither he nor Mark Hamill have been contacted by Abrams or Disney about reprising their roles. He’s been filming a movie with Hamill in London, and Jackson said, “I asked Mark if he’d heard from J.J. Abrams and he said, ‘No,’ and then all of a sudden Ewan [McGregor] was there and I spoke to him on the phone, asked him if he was there doing Star Wars. He said, ‘No, they haven’t called me…'” It’s still early going, sure, and they’re still auditioning for new roles, but you’d think the studios would want to lock down the more popular and consistently busy actors before their upcoming schedules get completely filled out.

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J.J. Abrams On His Science Fiction Pet Peeve (It Isn’t Lens Flares)

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AlmostHJ.J. Abrams is one of the most powerful guys in Hollywood these day, having put Star Trek back in the pop culture conversation in a big way (whether you like how he did it or not) and now helming the first new Star Wars film since 2005’s Revenge of the Sith. On the TV front he’s executive produced one of the biggest genre shows ever (Lost) and one of the best in recent memory (Fringe), with another show with great potential premiering this weekend (Almost Human). There are plenty of fans who take great joy in criticizing Abrams’ style and storytelling choices, but what about the man himself? What gets under his skin? As it turns out, it’s anachronistic dialogue.

More specifically, he hates when shows set in the future make use of modern terms or phrases that almost certainly won’t exist — at least in the same form — in whatever setting you’re dealing with. Abrams tells Time:

Frankly, one of my biggest pet peeves is the use of certain phrases that I just can’t for the life of me believe will exist five decades from now. … Even little things. If you read a story about a hard drive, it’s like, There won’t be a hard drive! I’m not saying there won’t be a version of a memory cartridge or some obvious equivalent. If you’re telling a story about the future, we’re going to be bipeds, we’re going to be wearing clothes, we’ll live in structures, we’ll consume comestibles, we’ll inhale oxygen. They’re all things we know we’ll maintain. The truth is that almost every relationship — whether it’s between people or people and their work — there will always be these analogous situations you can get. The thing that drives me crazy is when it’s a literal connection to what exists now. When you think on a day-to-day basis how many little things we might say or refer to that if 30 years ago someone had said to you, “You know, I’ll text you in 10 minutes,” you’d be like, “What’d you say?” It would almost be like alien talk. You have to think in terms of practical dialogue. Producing a TV show or movie, there are just going to be certain phrases and terms that will be completely alien to us now, if we heard them from the future.

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Star Wars Episode VII Now Accepting Online Audition Videos For Two Roles

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star warsAh, another day, another slice of casting news from J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: Episode VII, a movie that will probably have its own version of the Internet by the time it gets released. But the latest news doesn’t involve Chiwetel Ejiofor or any other big movie stars. It involves you. (Assuming you’re not a big movie star.) Disney is widening their search for newbie actors to play two young characters and will be accepting online auditions from anyone around the world. Do you have what it takes to continue keeping Hayden Christensen in his place as the worst Star Wars actor out there?

They decided to go the Internet route after an audition in Bristol had to turn away hundreds of people at the door, which led to some highly upset potential Jedi. So now anyone who thinks they have the goods can just go to this website for Cast It Talent and upload a video audition for one of the two roles previously mentioned in reports.

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J.J. Abrams’ Mysterious Book S. Hits Shelves: Today In Science & Science Fiction

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StrangerThis past summer, J.J. Abrams surprised us all with a mysterious black-and-white teaser video that, while stylish and evocative, didn’t actually reveal what it was for. It was a classic bit of Abrams “mystery box” provocation, and the interwebs lit up with speculation about whether the teaser was for a new movie or show or something else entirely. Eventually, it was revealed that the vid was promoting S., a book conceived by Abrams and written by Doug Dorst. It finally hits shelves today, and it certainly sounds intriguing. You can order it via Amazon, and you can heck out the full synopsis and the original teaser video below.

One book. Two readers. A world of mystery, menace, and desire.

A young woman picks up a book left behind by a stranger. Inside it are his margin notes, which reveal a reader entranced by the story and by its mysterious author. She responds with notes of her own, leaving the book for the stranger, and so begins an unlikely conversation that plunges them both into the unknown.