J.J. Abrams reveals he turned down Star Wars: Episode VII

Back in November when it emerged that Academy Award-winning screenwriter Michael Arndt (Little Miss Sunshine) had written a treatment for Disney’s forthcoming Star Wars trilogy, three names were said to top the studio’s wishlist to step into the director’s chair for Star Wars: Episode VII – J.J. Abrams (Star Trek Into Darkness), Brad Bird (Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol) and George Lucas’ good buddy Steven Spielberg (Lincoln). While all three subsequently went public to downplay their interest, Abrams has now become the first to go on record to state that he was approached about the job:

“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,” Abrams told Empire (via ComicBookMovie). “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.”

Abrams also took a moment to address any potential rivalry between the two big sci-fi franchises should a future Star Trek sequel find itself going up against one of Disney’s new Star Wars movies, as well as expressing his excitement about the continuation of the Star Wars saga: “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. Kathleen Kennedy is a friend and there are no smarter producers. It’s in great hands.”

While Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass, X-Men: First Class) is thought to be the front runner to secure the Episode VII directing gig, Disney has so far remained firmly tight-lipped about its plans for the epic space opera. However, with Star Wars: Episode VII scheduled to arrive in cinemas in 2015, we should expect to hear an official announcement in the very near future.