Here’s some obvious news for those that have been paying attention: J.J Abrams has passed on the opportunity to direct “Star Wars: Episode VII.” Not much of a shocker there. In fact, he already said as much in November, and took himself out of the running then, but hey, it’s a slow holiday week.
Now he makes it quote unquote official, for what it’s worth, or for those that didn’t get it the first time. “I guess the franchises could go up against each other, but I’m not thinking that far ahead! I’m a huge fan of’ ‘Star Wars,’ ‘Empire‘ and ‘Jedi,’ and the idea of the world continuing is exciting and will be amazing,” he told Empire recently. “Kathy Kennedy is a friend and there are no smarter producers. It’s in great hands.” He said, “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.”
It’s almost slightly ironic given the fact that, as the director states, Abrams is a self-confessed “Star Wars” fan over “Star Trek,” and he even admitted in 2009, the year it was released, to giving his “Star Trek” reboot a more action-adventure-y Lucas approach because that was one he understood. Perhaps if the opportunities to direct the films had occurred simultaneously, Abrams would have chosen “Star Wars” over “Star Trek,” but unfortunately for him the stars did not align.
For those that missed it, Abrams said essentially the same about passing up the opportunity to direct “Star Wars” one month ago. “Look, ‘Star Wars’ is one of my favorite movies of all time,” he said in an interview this year. “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!”
Either way, it’s not entirely a surprise. We’ve been hearing that George Lucas is thinking twice about his decision to cede control and that he and LucasFilm president Kathleen Kennedy are aiming to hire someone that can execute his vision ala Richard Marquand and Irvin Kershner. Expect a non-auteur to be announced in the new year.