When the famously tight-lipped J.J. Abrams was announced earlier this year as the director of “Star Wars: Episode VII,” it was both a surprise and the obvious choice. And while many argued about what it means to have the same man in charge of both “Star Wars” and “Star Trek,” what will happen with the inevitable “Star Trek 3,” and whether or not Abrams is a pig, the filmmaker has stayed as silent as always. With six weeks to go until “Star Trek Into Darkness” and the press tour gearing up to begin, Abrams has decided to get out ahead of the curve and talk about “Star Wars.”
In an interview with Empire, Abrams tells the magazine how he wasn’t exactly lying when he told everyone he passed on “Star Wars,” saying “My knee-jerk reaction was that I’m in the middle of working on the Star Trek movie and I can’t even consider it. But then time went by and I got further along working on the movie and getting to a place where I had done most of the heavy lifting. So when I met with [producer] Kathy Kennedy, we just started discussing it and I was able to actually engage in the conversation.”
A certain bearded director also had some sway on him as Abrams said “Steven [Spielberg] was very encouraging of ‘Star Wars.’ It’s funny because I talked to him about it and it turned out he knew all about what was going on.” It should be no surprise that Spielberg was in the loop — he’s not only had a long bromance with George Lucas but he’s also worked alongside Kennedy, current president of Lucasfilm, since “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” Not to mention he produced Abrams’ Amblin love letter “Super 8.”
And while work on “Star Wars: Episode VII” has only just begun in earnest, Abrams explained his hope for the film as the same hope he had for “Star Trek,” saying that two franchises are “not that dissimilar. Though I came at these both from very different places, where they both meet is a place of ‘Ooh, that’s really exciting.’ I feel like I can identify a hunger for what I would want to see again and that is an incredibly exciting place to begin a project. The movies, the worlds could not be more different but that feeling that there’s something amazing here is the thing that they share.”
“Star Trek Into Darkness” arrives boldly in theaters on May 17th, and “Star Wars: Episode VII” is tentatively scheduled for a 2015 release. And there’s more from Abrams in the new issue of Empire, which hits on Thursday.