J.J. Abrams Confirmed to Direct ‘Star Wars: Episode 7′; Still Working on ‘Star Trek 3′

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JJ Abrams Star Wars Episode 7 J.J. Abrams Confirmed to Direct Star Wars: Episode 7; Still Working on Star Trek 3

J.J. Abrams is known for his cloak-and-dagger method of hyping upcoming projects, so it’s fitting that reports about him directing Star Wars: Episode VII arrived just a couple months after he announced in public that “I declined any involvement very early on” with the new installment in George Lucas’ sci-fi franchise. That is, he chose his words carefully, when it came to “denying” that he’s coming aboard.

Newly-appointed Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy has released a statement, confirming that the man who (successfully) rebooted Star Trek is breathing new life into Star Wars by directing the seventh installment. Meanwhile, Paramount has offered assurances that Abrams will continue to collaborate behind the scenes on its franchises like Mission: Impossible and a followup to this summer’s Trek reboot sequel, Star Trek Into Darkness.

Here is an excerpt from the official Lucasfilm press release:

J.J. Abrams will direct Star Wars: Episode VII, the first of a new series of Star Wars films to come from Lucasfilm under the leadership of Kathleen Kennedy. Abrams will be directing and Academy Award-winning writer Michael Arndt will write the screenplay.

“It’s very exciting to have J.J. aboard leading the charge as we set off to make a new Star Wars movie,” said Kennedy. “J.J. is the perfect director to helm this. Beyond having such great instincts as a filmmaker, he has an intuitive understanding of this franchise. He understands the essence of the Star Wars experience, and will bring that talent to create an unforgettable motion picture.”

George Lucas went on to say “I’ve consistently been impressed with J.J. as a filmmaker and storyteller.  He’s an ideal choice to direct the new Star Wars film and the legacy couldn’t be in better hands.”

“To be a part of the next chapter of the Star Wars saga, to collaborate with Kathy Kennedy and this remarkable group of people, is an absolute honor,” J.J. Abrams said. “I may be even more grateful to George Lucas now than I was as a kid.”

Abrams is also producing the seventh Star Wars live-action installment, alongside his partner Bryan Burk and Bad Robot production company. In addition, the press release reveals that screenwriters/producers Lawrence Kasdan (The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi) and Simon Kinberg (X-Men: Days of Future Past) – who are reported to be writing Episodes VIII and IX – are consulting on Episode VII.

JJ Abrams on Star Trek set J.J. Abrams Confirmed to Direct Star Wars: Episode 7; Still Working on Star Trek 3

Meanwhile, Paramount Vice Chairman Rob Moore issued the following statement (via Hero Complex):

“J.J. will continue to develop projects for us including a new ‘Mission: Impossible,’ and he is committed to produce another ‘Star Trek.’”

Abrams directed Mission: Impossible III and produced director Brad Bird’s fourth installment, Ghost Protocol, but his time-commitment to that Tom Cruise franchise shouldn’t change (seeing how, last we heard, Jack Reacher director Christopher McQuarrie was tipped to helm the fifth movie).

As for Star Trek 3, well, Paramount’s not dismissing the idea of Abrams returning as director (… yet). However, that’s going to be near-impossible, unless the studio doesn’t mind another four-year gap between Trek installments. Best to wait and see before calling that one either way, though…

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Star Trek Into Darkness opens in theaters on May 17th, 2013.

Star Wars: Episode VII arrives in 2015.

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Source: LA Times

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TAGS: star trek, star trek into darkness, star wars

118 Comments

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  1. Joss Whedon would have been a better choice…not only to direct it but also to write the screenplay. What he did with the Avengers was genius.

    • Yeah Whedon would have been my top choice but he’s busy with Marvel, and Abrams would have been in my top 3 so I’m cautiously optimistic (if Into Darkness is good then it’ll further solidify him being a good choice).

  2. Abrams has already directed a Star Wars film. It was called Star Trek. While I feel he is a competent director, I’m not happy with this news. No man should be able to wield the power he now possesses- the keys to the two biggest sci fi franchises. My only hope is that he does the same thing he did to Star Trek to the new Star Wars film. Hopefully he can “improve” the source material, as he felt it necessary to do with Star Trek. Maybe if we’re really lucky, he ‘ll take the easy way out and create an alternate timeline so that he doesn’t have to logically explain the “improvements” he’s making to decades of established canon. If Abrams rebooting Star Trek made it more popular (meaning it made money), which should never matter to true fans, true fans care about integrity and loyalty to the source material, I would have preferred that he DIDN’T make that film. Even if it meant the brand didn’t get ” reimagined” and “popular”, it was only a matter of time before some talented director, who actually respected Trek canon, came along and did a film the fans could’ve respected and enjoyed. But instead we got Uhura and Spock together, and Vulcan was destroyed. Since Abrams is an actual “fan” of Star Wars, I’m expecting him to carry over his usual brand of “improvements”, but this time they should be even more extreme. If C-3P0 doesn’t get together with Leia, and if Yavin 4 and Tattoine don’t both get destroyed I’m not going to watch Episode 7. It will not be an “improvement” over the original source material, which is what JJ does best.

    • @Voodoo

      Well said friend, everyone keeps saying “ JJ saved Star Trek “ Well who’s to say someone else couldn’t have done the same, but even better and with more integrity. To me Star Trek 09 is an exercise in hackery and laziness.

      At this point I can only hope that JJ has more respect for Star Wars then he does for Star Trek.

      • @ stabber — MAYBE SOMEONE COULD HAVE….. BUT THEY DIDN’T, DID THEY???
        when no one else had the balls to try it HE DID, I NEVER was a big fan of the TV show, I did watch it and it was OK but I definitly think he IMPROVED on the original source material! HE GOT PPL THAT WERE NOT BIG TREKKIES TO GO AND PAY MONEY TO WATCH A STAR TREK FILM!! THAT is the whole point behind making a movie…. GETTING A$$ES IN THE SEATS

        • Slappy, I have to disagree with you :

          “THAT is the whole point behind making a movie…. GETTING A$$ES IN THE SEATS.”

          I think most filmmakers would consider themselves artists rather then cash machines, and it just so happens that people don’t mind shelling out a few bucks to go see the latest artistic venture. but if you are right, then all movies will eventually degrade into, explosions, porn, and puppies.

        • If getting people to go to the cinema to see it is the mark of a great movie, then Episode 1 was an amazing movie. I think a lot of people here wouldn’t agree with that.

      • Did you mean Star Trek 11? 9 was Insurrection but I don’t think Abrams had anything to do with that.

    • @Voodoo,

      While I actually enjoyed the first J.J. Star Trek film quite a bit I do understand what you are getting at and can agree on most if not all of what you say. One thing that bothers me is if JJ is doing Star Wars and Trek which one is he rooting for ? Plus the new Into the Darkness movie looks and sounds like yet another shootout thugfest. For every Star Trek T.W.O.K that is made it’s nice to also have an uplifting movie like The Voyage Home to balance things out.

      I agree with the people that said Joss Whedon might do a great job. What about Ridley Scott taking over the Star Trek Franchise. His movies have a tendency to be intellectual at time bordering on cerebral as well as edgy and dangerous (sometimes a bit scary even). He could possibly provide that nice balance of character interaction, exploration and adventure that traditional Star Trem fans enjoy. Plus Ridley Scott is no slouch at the box office either so the beancounters should be happy as well.

      • “adventure that traditional Star Trem fans enjoy” – Sorry about the typo I meant Trek not Trem :)

      • @Howard
        Thank you, sir. It would be fair of me to note that I enjoyed JJs film because it felt “fun”. But this is the same kind of masochistic “fun” that I had with the new Indiana Jones movie. Its a hollow, fake cinematic experience. His Star Trek was too commercialized, and it wasn’t accurate to Roddenberrys original vision.
        I love Ridley Scott’s science fiction films, so I would be very excited if he were to do a take on the franchise.

      • Ahem, Prometheus was an unmitigated disaster of a movie, complete shambles. He wasted whatever sci fi credentials he had on Prometheus. Some nice visuals, well imagined. But no intellectual, cerebral quality at all. Complete opposite in fact. Keep this guy well away from Star Trek. Nuff said.

        • Of course the writer of Prometheus was Damon Lindeloff from JJ Abram’s Lost let down which let me know the plot would suck. Joss Whedon does snappy banter a la Buffy but the storyline to the Avengers was paper thin. A test for a good movie for me is whether I’d watch it again and the answer is I wouldn’t watch the Avengers again. I prefer Abrams mucking about with Star Wars rather than doing any further harm to Star Trek. Of course i hear one of his minions like Roberto Orci will put down his crayons and attempt to helm the next movie. For shame. I think I’ll hide out in the North Pole for a while.

    • Finally, a voice of intelligent discernment. I thought I was the lone voice in the wilderness on this. Star Trek has been, probably, irrecoverably destroyed to the cheers of a mob relishing in its destruction because they were never ever “with it”. The public doesn’t care that the stories make no sense, have no relevance, and only plays with well known cliches as though it’s some Rocky Horror Picture Show type of parody. If that’s “filling asses in the seats”, well, the Roman Coliseum did the same thing. Just don’t call it “Star Trek”! That’s what I really hate about the lazy way films are made and that’s because all they want to do is buy a brand name, then tear it up and mangle it any way they want to. If they create their own project then they can do anything they want but they don’t have the ability to do that so they wreak havoc over other people’s creations.

  3. Honestly, I think that this will turn out okay. But also honeslty, I REALLY did not want J.J. to be the director, and I am still in a state of gradually subsiding shock. I am glad that someone else is writing the screenplay, theoretically based on a story that goes back even further. It is hard to articulate, but I just have some intense misgivings about J.J. Abrams, so this is difficult for me to accept.

    As far as Star Trek, it really was very Star Wars-like in visuals and pacing. The thing is that the Star Trek franchise was basically asking for that by way of the “Piccard-era” running itself mercilessly into the ground of increasingly boring, predictable near-self-parody. I like Star Trek, but it was dying for new energy, and the Abrams film gave it that. Using that same logic, though, the Star Wars prequels could also be seen as a pretext for “come rescue us, Mr. Abrams,” so you get what you pay for. I just hope that the film is good. Sigh.

  4. He produced a successful MI movie that came after a gap of 5 years…he directed a successful Star Trek movie that came after a gap of 7 years…and now he will be directing Star Wars…that’s gonna come after a gap of 10 years…JJ is like the king of reboots…and given the relatively low standards set by the prequel trilogy/…i am sure we are all in for a surprise…

  5. I think Lucasfilm and George Lucas individually need to be given a lot of credit for the way they have handled passing on SW to the next generation (sorry couldn’t resist). George clearly loves SW and wants it to be around for a long time after he is gone therefore he has made the very sensible decision to put his work in the hand of Disney – and you cannot argue that that was not a good choice as they clearly know how to work with other studios e.g. Pixar and Marvel.

    Furthermore with regard to this film they have not only gone for a director who will give it spectacle IMO but they have also got a high quality writer and some great consultants on board. All round the team they have assembled is of high quality they are not rushing anything at all which I think is great – they have given themselves until 2015 and I guess this has been in the pipeline for over a year now, given themselves plenty of time to work it all out.

    Though he may have under delivered in the prequel trilogy, and I think he probably knows it after all the fan backlash, George Lucas has clearly taken a lot of time over this and I don’t really think that SW could have been given a better grounding to move forward.

    Best of luck JJ and thanks Mr Lucas for creating one of the wonders of cinema…. Queue theme music

  6. Maybe we can get Whedon involed for Star Trek 3.

    • That sounds cool, but I’d rather have them get Whedon involved for Star Wars 8 or 9.

  7. Dang, was really hoping that the “so called news” that JJ Abrams directing Star Wars 7 was just another rumor. I really want Duncan Jones to do Star Wars 7. I’m ok with JJ Abrams since he’s a fan boy of the original series but isn’t there any other directors in hollywood.

  8. Somebody put Rooney Mara and MIchael Fassbender in this Movie quick!

  9. So, I guess we can expect a very dramatic trailer… but the actual movie will be crippled with a braindead plot, forgettable villains, slapstick humor, cameos from geriatric original cast members and lens flare.

    And stop flipping me off in that picture JJ.

  10. He’s totally going INTO DARK-sideNESS..

  11. If this is true, then this is bad news.

    J.J. Abrams does not understand Star Trek. He has reduced Star Trek from the philosophical explorations of Gene Roddenberry to a series about jumpy plotlines, dime-a-dozen action sequences, and Micheal Bay type explosions for the sake of folks who have short attention spans.

    So, what will he do to Star Wars: Episode VII? The same thing, of course! There is no reason by which to expect otherwise.

    I miss Gene Roddenberry and the younger George Lucas. /Sigh.

  12. What made Star Wars so unique, it was one of a kind, it gave us an interest in science fiction. The next three movies, to me were just not that entertaining, because you already knew the back story.

    Next group of movies, will not have the same impact as the original, and will just be another franchise that will get beat like a dead horse. Disney and its ever so prominent stance on extreme violence, and a need to always have a happen ending, will ruin it. Not everything Disney touches turns to gold, and when it gets to Star Wars 15, only people who will care, will be the one who know nothing of the original.

  13. Everyone is an expert..

    Everyone wants Whedon? Sure, Avengers was great! You know what wasn’t? Cabin in the Woods and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

    Abrams is a solid choice, be grateful.

    Bane

    • Well said Bane!

    • Wow. I cannot believe I’m the first person to disagree with you. Buffy is fantastic and I thought Cabin in the Woods was great. What part of Buffy didn’t you like???

      • Personally, I thought the Buffy movie was lame, except that was years ago. And I may respect most opinions, but I love it when people mistake The Cabin in the Woods for a serious horror film after watching it.

        • The Buffy movie wasn’t really Whedon’s vision, the studio changed it around a bit. The show was more of what he had in mind. And there are prequel comics to the show that represent what Whedon wanted for the movie. Take that for whatever you will.

  14. All I have to say is who runs the film industry… They also run the banks and the country… You figure it out…

  15. Ummmm…I feel like this is gonna bother me alot when I go to see the episode 7. I just don’t like the fact that he is doing Star Trek at the same time.He needs to step back from one or the other to put me at rest.

  16. Star Wars: Episode 7: the lens flair.

  17. coulda been Micheal Bay ….. count your blessings ! JJ can do it ! he’s a geek dont forget! he’s ONE OF US he gets it ! yeah the timeline reboot was a easy way out but who cares ! it was still star trek and it was great ! if TREK into darkness is a s good as I think its gonna be all the haters will be silenced!

  18. If he was going to reboot Star Wars from the beginning he should use Josh Holloway as Han Solo.

  19. I am elated that there may be no more JJ Abrams directed Star Treks. Of course his writers are the major problem with the movies and they will still be around unfortunately. I can only hope the follow up films fail commercially forcing Paramount to go a different direction. I’d rather there was no Star Trek than continue the moronic romp it has become. Kirk goes from cadet to captain in one day, firing missiles and not photon torpedoes, and Kirk is stranded on the very out of the way world where Spock has been living for decades. How ridiculous. It’s like it was written for pre-schoolers.

  20. Is it just me or am I the only one who thinks that this is a monumentally bad idea? JJ Abrams has screwed up just about everything he has done,in my opinion. He screwed up Alias,and he totally screwed up Lost,not to mention he wrecked the whole Star Trek genre with his arrogant re creating of the Star Trek realm. Why is this guy being allowed to what he will most surely do and that’s screw up Star Wars?? It’s bad enough that Lucas took the latest episodes and failed on them with shabby directing and terrible character development(I can give Lucas a pass on this because at least HE was the one who screwed up his own stories) but to put Star Wars into the hands of Abrams? Where is the creativity? Where is the spirit of once was in scifi movie making? Even the greats such as Ridley Scott has fallen into the trap of messing up story ideas and totally botching films. I’m sorry folks,but Star Wars ,for me ,ended with episode VI.

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