In a pretty lengthy interview with Playboy, director J.J. Abrams talks about his next project, Star Wars: Episode VII, which is targeting a 2015 release.
He didn’t get into any story or casting details of course, but he does talk about being in control of both the Star Wars and Star Trek franchises simultaneously.
He also says he is going to seek feedback on his decisions with the film from the Star Wars creator himself, George Lucas.
Oh yeah! There’s also still a chance he could direct Star Trek 3!
On passing on Star Wars: Episode VII originally, before finally accepting:
“It was a wild time. I was near the light at the end of the tunnel with my work on Star Trek. I felt I needed a bit of a breather, actually. But then Kathleen Kennedy [the new Lucasfilm head who oversees Star Wars] called again. I’ve known her for years. We had a great conversation, and the idea of working with her on this suddenly went from being theoretical and easy to deny to being a real, tangible, thrilling possibility. In the end it was my wife, Katie, who said if it was something that really interested me, I had to consider it.”
On being in control of both the Star Trek and Star Wars franchises:
“It is preposterous. Ridiculous. Completely insane. It really is. … I mean, I get it. The worlds are vastly different. Honestly, that was why I passed on Star Wars to begin with. I couldn’t imagine doing both. But when I said that my loyalty was to Star Trek I was literally working on finishing this cut. I couldn’t even entertain another thought. It was like being on the most beautiful beach in the world and someone saying, “There’s this amazing mountain over here. Come take a look.” I couldn’t balance the two, so I passed on Star Wars.”
On Star Wars needing to look different from Star Trek:
“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.”
On being a Star Wars fan and the burden that comes with it:
I meant if I viewed this from a fan’s point of view—and no one’s a bigger Star Wars fan than I am—or from a legacy standpoint, it would scare the hell out of me. But instead of trying to climb this mountain in one giant leap, I’m just enjoying the opportunity and looking to the people I’m working with. I’ve known Kathy for years. I’ve worked with the screenwriter, Michael Arndt, for a long time. I’ve known George for a number of years and he’s now a friend. Even if this wasn’t Star Wars, I’d be enormously fortunate to work with them.
On how much will be his vision:
For me to talk to you about what the big themes or ideas are before they exist is disingenuous, but naturally I have a big say in how this gets put together. When I get involved with something, I own it and carry the responsibility of the job.
Finally on whether his involvement with Star Wars rules him out for directing Star Trek 3:
“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.”
I can see Abrams directing Star Trek 3 and Star Wars back to back. I’m actaully a big fan of his, and have that much faith in him. That is of course, if Paramount is willing to wait for him to finish up with Star Wars.
But what I want to know is how do you feel about him asking George Lucas for advice?