J.J. Abrams Talks ‘Star Wars: Episode 7′, ‘Star Trek 3′ and ‘Cloverfield 2′

Published 2 years ago by , Updated March 3rd, 2014 at 4:40 pm,

jj abrams star wars 7 trek 3 cloverfield 2 J.J. Abrams Talks Star Wars: Episode 7, Star Trek 3 and Cloverfield 2

We are but a few weeks away from Star Trek Into Darkness reaching theaters, and yet so many of the movie’s secrets have been (thankfully) kept under lock and key; hence, any attempt to wrestle information from director J.J. Abrams about his next major sci-fi genre blockbuster undertaking, Star Wars: Episode VII, is best to be considered a foolhardy endeavor, at this stage of development.

Nevertheless, that’s exactly what Playboy (needless to say, their link is NSFW) attempted during an interview with Abrams. The effort culminated with the latter serving up some intriguing, but vague, food for thought about Episode VII and what his creative philosophy is for approaching George Lucas’ operatic space epic.

However, the Star Trek/Wars director also touched on two other gestating sci-fi franchise installments: one which is, for certain, going to happen (an Into Darkness followup, a.k.a. Star Trek 3) and a sequel to the Abrams-produced giant monster found-footage movie Cloverfield, which shall henceforth be called just Cloverfield 2.

First, here’s what Abrams said about the challenge of tackling Star Wars, as a self-admitted fan:

“Here’s the thing. 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.”

Indeed, what hasn’t worked for Star Wars in the past – many fans would argue the majority of artistic choice on the prequel trilogy fall into that category (along with the winter holiday special) – now lives in infamy. That is probably a big part of the reason why Lucasfilm president and Episode VII producer Kathleen Kennedy had to spend a month coaxing Abrams to accept the director job.

disney lucasfilm star wars 7 J.J. Abrams Talks Star Wars: Episode 7, Star Trek 3 and Cloverfield 2

However, with Oscar-winner Michael Arndt (Toy Story 3) writing the Episode VII screenplay and Lucas on hand to consult as necessary, Abrams has good reason to be confident that his Star Wars movie can rank among the best (or, at the least, better) installments in the franchise; not to mention, stand apart from his rebooted Star Trek universe, in terms of thematics qualities and visual design:

“As with anything, because ['Star Trek' and 'Star Wars'] 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.”

On that note: Paramount, after Abrams was officially confirmed to direct Star Wars: Episode VII, refused to rule out the possibility that the filmmaker could direct Star Trek 3, in addition to producing the threequel. However, since then, producer Bryan Burk has made it known that a 2016 release date is desirable, in order to coincide with the original Star Trek TV series’ 50th anniversary.

JJ Abrams on Star Trek set J.J. Abrams Talks Star Wars: Episode 7, Star Trek 3 and Cloverfield 2

Star Wars: Episode VII is tentatively scheduled to reach theaters by Summer 2015, which would make it, in essence, impossible for Abrams to make that blockbuster and then have Star Trek 3 ready a year later (as a director on both films, anyway). Nonetheless, Abrams is likewise refusing to rule out the idea:

“No. I would say it’s a possibility. We’re trying to figure out the next step. But it’s like anything: It all begins with the story.”

The same holds true for Cloverfield 2, which Abrams and director Matt Reeves have talked about on-and-off about for around five years now. However, with director Guillermo del Toro releasing Pacific Rim in theaters during the summer – followed by director Gareth Edwards rebooting Godzilla next year – there’s very much wisdom in Abrams’ claim that now just isn’t the right time for a Cloverfield sequel:

“Part of me just wants to let ['Cloverfield 2'] go, though we’ve had a couple of discussions about cool ways to do it. I’m looking forward to seeing Pacific Rim this summer. It feels like there are some really big monsters coming down the pike that could inspire something we do.”

One massive genre blockbuster at a time, right?


Star Trek Into Darkness opens in select (U.S.) theaters in 3D/IMAX on May 15th, 2013. It begins a regular theatrical release on May 17th.

Star Wars: Episode VII opens in theaters in Summer 2015.

Source: Playboy [via /Film]

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  1. Honestly, I think the best thing for Trek 3 would be to move it to 2017. Yes, that would mean it wouldn’t reach the 50th aniversary date, but it would also be a better movie. Episode VIII is also scheduled for 2017, but I don’t want JJ directing that. The best Star Wars trilogy, as we all know, was directed by three different people. Alfonso Cuaron should get VIII and Brad Bird should bring it on home with IX.

    • I honestly couldn’t disagree more, now of course if they replace Abrams with someone great for the 2nd and/or 3rd entries in this trilogy it will definitely soften the blow, but i really feel like changing directors hurts the continuity of a trilogy that is, optimally supposed to feel like a cohesive experience, and if I’m going to hand over the reigns to something as epic as Star wars why would i not want someone like Abrams tackling it? He’s a god at Sci-Fi.

      It’s actually why i was kind of annoyed with things such as them changing directors for the Hunger games franchise, but them hiring Francis Lawrence clearly softened the blow because I know he’ll do the franchise justice, and at least hes doing the latter 2 and there won’t be yet another director doing the 3rd entry.

      People might hate on me for this, because the franchise was was universally disliked, but i feel this is something that flat out crippled the Twilight series, beyond the absolute abysmal scripts, that while got better as the series went along, definitely still needed dramatically better efforts. Though maybe if they didn’t hire just absolutely dreadful directors for the first 2 films, changing directors wouldn’t of been such a big deal, but i found Eclipse to be a pretty solid film, and with David Slade directing it, I don’t find that to be a coincidence.

  2. I want Cloverfield 2!!!

    • +1

    • +1

    • +1

    • +1

  3. Giant monster movies are coming back.

  4. I’d kill for a Cloverfield 2.

  5. JJ should direct SW7 , then Cloverfield 2… idk about Star Trek..

  6. I need cloverfield 2!

  7. Anyone else want Josh Holloway in the new star wars film???

    • If there is an appropriate role for him, then I’d definitely be up for that. I think that he was great in Lost.

    • I actually read the entire interview. And, I think that it was very informative and engaging. I trust that Abrams understands and appreciates the significance of directing Episode VII.

    • Yes! I want him the the Star Wars galaxy. However I also want Dominic Monoghan. I think having too many of the actors that J.J Abrams has worked with could devalue the concept of Star Wars 7 potentially. I am all for Josh Holloway being in the movie though as long as they don’t kill him off.

    • He wouldn’t be a bad choice. I have to agree with my newfound Twinchester here.

    • He would be an excellent scoundrel. His character on Lost was basically Han Solo. And let’s face it the real Han Solo is getting a little old to be hopping across the galaxy. And could you imagine a few scenes with them together. Oh, it would be great! Old Han Solo would be like, “Listen here, Kid. I’ve flown from one end of this galaxy to another…” And Josh Halloway scoundrel would be like, “Don’t tell me how to fly my ship old man, get back in your walker” The possibilities are endless. In fact, I think that was one of the let downs of the prequels “no scoundrels.” Two in one movie would be excellent! Three, if Lando comes back!

      • Yeah! I really hope that the new moviesy will bring back snappy dialog like that. It was sorely missing in the prequels.

  8. I really hope JJ Abrams directs Star Trek 3. I think it would be worth holding off the film until 2017 if it means that they could get him back. I think the continuity of directors is important, especially since Abrams brought a unique spin on the series and breathed new life back into the dead franchise.

  9. Yeah, Cloverfield 2 has to happen.

    I’d take that over any new Star Trek/Wars movies.

    • Personally I want Star Wars and Star Trek movies more than Cloverfield, but yeah, I agree, Cloverfield 2 has to happen, just as long as they do it right.

  10. I very much hated Cloverfield (or as I like to call it Blair Witch Monster Edition). Im sure, from the comments all posted I might be in the minority, but honestly I hope it does now happen. Godzilla and Pacific Rim should be more than enough. In all honesty I really wish JJ wasn’t directing SW7. He did a great job with Star Trek and Im sure just as amazing with the new sequel around the corner. My personal problem is the fate of two galaxies that have competed for nerd superiority for years shouldn’t have one man holding the torch.

    • I get what you’re saying. Still, most directors were too scared to step up and direct Episode VIi. Once JJ changed his mind, it made sense to have him direct Episode VII. Despite what some people think, I think that it’s possible for him to direct Episode VII and ST III. Do I think that it’s probable? No.

    • “My personal problem is the fate of two galaxies that have competed for nerd superiority for years shouldn’t have one man holding the torch.”

      Lol what? no one cares about the stupid rivalry except for the annoying fans that should just enjoy what they like instead bickering which franchise is better. And it’s perfectly fine for J.J Abrams to direct both franchises as long as they are good. So far, Star Trek is doing great and I think he will do just as good with Star Wars.

      • Bingo

      • Thank You

  11. Lens flares, lens flares everywhere…

  12. Did I watch a different, crappy-er version of “Cloverfield” than everyone else or something?

    • no you just forgot that a movie does not have to be liked by you in order to be good :P

      • Ha, nice one.

      • But no seriously he’s right, it Did suck.

        • I’ve never seen it.

      • ZING!

  13. “Star Trek: Into Darkness” reviews are already hitting the internet. According to what I have read, the movie is both entertaining and a disappointment. I do not think there will be a third.

    • Ha, Marcus, you can’t be serious. Of course, there’s going to be a third.

      • And a fourth and a fifth and………

        • I do not think its going to happen.

          • Okay, why do you not think that there will be a third one? I’m actually really curious.

  14. The biggest differences between the Star Wars Original and Prequels was that most people were children when they first watched Star Wars. Taking their kids and being grown for the prequels. As much bitching as people claim for the prequels anyone who owns one Star Wars movie owns them all.

    • Actually, in my opinion, the biggest difference between the trilogies is that one was really good and the other one wasn’t.

      • IMO, there were some good aspects to the second trilogy. The first of cours was the best, but the second wasn’t horrible.

        • Ha, there were definitely some good parts. I a really liked the third one. Bit, as a cold tubs series, I believe that it really pales in comparison to the first one.

        • I’d say pretty close to horrible. There are some okay parts in the Episode 2 & the only reason the third is worth a crap is cause it ties the movie with the originals. I really wish someone would cut together a decent Obi Wan Kenobi film from those films. Other than seeing more of him, some of the transformation of Anakin , & the fall of the Jedi other than that the films were pretty unneeded. I honestly think JJ is overrated. What has he done that has been so great? Cloverfield was decent (and I know some people don’t like it) minus the whole shaky cam crap. If you liked that film I am pretty sure Pacific Rim will blow it out of the water. He got to do basically a E.T. remake that was okay at best. I enjoyed Star Trek, but I will wait before passing judgment on the sequel & Star Wars. I just don’t have a lot of hope.

    • @ Hulon,

      While I was talking to some friends, we came to the conclusion that it has to do with age. I agree. Perspectives change with the flow of age and experience. “Batman Begins” trilogy came to light because the fans had aged. You wouldn’t show the “Batman Begins” trilogy to a ten year old.

      “Star Trek: The Next Generation” had shifted in season three, for its cult following had started to age.

      Unless you are a parent with kids, the “Star Wars” franchise should look very awkward to you. Whatever influence “Star Wars” had on you as a kid should have faded.

      “Star Wars” has always been and forever shall be a kiddies franchise.

      • The “age argument” is not completely without merit, but is no excuse for the prequels. Using “it’s for children” as an excuse for poor writing and acting, and infantile humor, is nothing but a cop out.

        Being aimed at the young at heart, or the child in all of us, whatever, is not the same as being unaccessible to an adult audience.

        Batman Begins came to light beause of the immensely negative backlash to Batman & Robin.

      • Yeah age is important but im 23 with a full set of Stormtrooper Armor I made from a kit. Now the 501st legion is costumed stormtroopers who go to events in armor. All the people I’ve met who do this are much older than me like in their 40s or older hahaha. They still enjoy it

    • I always thought it was because everything in the original trilogies was because everything look used and wasn’t nice and shiny, and the fact it had actual sets not green screens. Also because it had more epic moments like when the Millenium Falcon turns around and goes back to Cloud City to get Luke.

      • can you believe they didnt make one set of Clone Trooper armor for the prequels. Its all CGI. I was astounded when I found that out as I think the more practical elements in a film the better. Lucas lost his way

    • Age is a factor, no doubt. But if you have a close look at the two trilogies you can’t help but notice that they are very different on many levels. The atmosphere of the original trilogy is more grounded, feels more real and is grittier. The dialogs and characters as a whole feel more natural and relatable, the effects look more tangible, the humor is less silly. The performances are better. I could go on.

      That doesn’t have anything to do with our age or nostalgia. These are quantifiable differences.

      • I don’t think the original trilogy success is based on age at all. As I recall, you had a lot of adults attending those films. My elder brothers and sisters were fans and they weren’t that young at the time… as you said the movies were more grounded and the vast majority of people attending (at least in Europe) were adults even at the time.

  15. Star Wars > Star Trek
    I also am not a fan of ST.

  16. “threequel”

    Please consider how awful this word is.

    • Almost as awful as “bankable”. ;)

      • or “chopping block” in reality television

  17. Cloverfield wasn’t good enough to warrant spending 5 years thinking about a sequel.

  18. *picks up poster board and starts marching around his house yelling*

    “Cloverfield II! Cloverfield II!!”

    • Hahaha, now that’s funny.

  19. JJ Abrams is on the cusp of becoming either the most revered or reviled director in the world. Good luck with that.

  20. Disney killed Grand Admiral Thrawn.

  21. Bring us Cloverfield 2!!

  22. Read the whole interview. It was very good. I think JJ is going to do Star Wars justice and if he can’t do Trek 3, I am SURE he will make sure that whoever DOES do it will be an extremely talented director (Neill Blomkamp maybe?).

    • steavan moffat or peter jackson sould direct star trek iii

  23. Regarding Star Wars, I do not think that it is any mystery at all what works and what doesn’t work. The issue has been that George Lucas at some point seemed to completely disconnect with reality. Any director taking on the franchise at this point has a very clear reference point for what makes Star Wars work – the first two films primarily. Simple as that.

  24. Well if they ever decide to make a Star Trek/Star Wars crossover film. JJ Abrams would be the man to film it. The Federation from Star Trek fighting Imperial Destroyers from Star Wars has blockbuster written all over it. One thing is for sure. The Force is with JJ Abrams and He will boldly go where no man has gone before.

  25. If JJ opts out of Episode 8 , then perhaps Neil Blompkamp should do 8 and Peter Jackson should do 9 ( or Spielberg) . That will make me extremely happy

  26. A different director for Star Trek is fine by me. After two movies in the same franchise, new blood is a good thing. Let’s avoid the Raimi SpiderMan 3 scenario

    More importantly the third Star Trek movie should get different writers. Preferably one of whom is a real SF writer.

  27. Still think Benedict Cumberbatch is playing Khan. Why is there a Dr Marcus?

  28. I think US review of STID will knock him down a peg or 2, Rehashing TWOK is just bad taste and cheap. Nothing original here, 4 years waiting for eye candy and disrespect to Gene Roddenberry.