There’s less than a month to go before J.J. Abrams reunites the crew of the USS Enterprise for the sci-fi sequel Star Trek Into Darkness, at which point he’ll be turning his attention from the Federation to a galaxy far, far away for the first instalment in Disney’s Star Wars sequel trilogy, Star Wars: Episode VII. Speaking to Playboy (steady on now), Abrams has offered up a few thoughts about tackling the two series, as well as detailing how he came to be involved with Episode VII, and whether it spells the end of his tenure on the Star Trek franchise.
“It is preposterous. Ridiculous. Completely insane. It really is,” said Abrams as to how he feels about having control of both Star Wars and Star Trek. “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.. 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.”
Abrams went on to touch upon his approach towards Episode VII, revealing that he plans to turn to Star Wars creator George Lucas for advice: “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… 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.”
And finally, in some potentially good news for Trekkers everywhere, the director refused to rule out the possibility of him helming another Star Trek movie, stating that: “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.”
Star Trek Into Darkness is set for a UK release on May 9th and a North American release on May 17th, with a cast that includes Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Benedict Cumberbatch, Simon Pegg, Karl Urban, John Cho, Anton Yelchin, Alice Eve, and Peter Weller. As for Star Wars: Episode VII, Disney is targeting a Summer 2015 release date, with persistent rumours suggesting that Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher will return for their fourth outings as Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Princess Leia.