Can a director make a leap from one major franchise to another, and still come back for a little more?
That’s what J.J. Abrams may have to find out after reportedly agreeing to direct the next Star Wars film. The Wrap says Abrams has signed a deal with Walt Disney Co.’s Lucasfilm to take on the seventh primary film in the franchise, due to hit theaters as early as 2015.
The news was a surprise to fans of both Star Trek and Star Wars — especially after Abrams made it clear earlier this month that he had no interest in moving over to a franchise he’s a self-avowed huge fan of.
“As a kid, I was always a fan of special effects,” Abrams told Entertainment Weekly earlier this month. “Watching movies, I was constantly trying to figure out how they did it, whatever the effect was. Star Wars was the first movie that blew my mind in that way. It didn’t matter how they did any of it, because it was all so overwhelmingly and entirely great.”
And now Abrams himself can have his own hand in it has he makes a jump to Star Wars as soon as he’s done with post-production work with “Star Trek: Into Darkness.” While Abrams had told EW that his projects after Star Trek would be personal ones, it appears he won’t have much time except to do the new Star Wars film, which would have to start filming as early as next year.
But what does that mean for Abrams and one of Disney’s biggest competitors, Paramount? It might not be good at all, actually.
Even when the quality hasn’t been the greatest, it’s impossible to compete with the Star Wars franchise. And Abrams himself said it took a little touch of Star Wars to help get Star Trek resurrected for the 21st century. Paramount is not exactly the kind of studio that likes to share (remember, this was the same studio that didn’t want to let Eddie Murphy in “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home”).
That doesn’t mean Paramount will part ways with Abrams, but it would most likely mean the next film to follow “Into Darkness” will not have Abrams at the helm, although it seems clear that his production shingle, Bad Robot, will remain a part of the franchise.
Neither Lucasfilm nor Abrams are even talking about the news. So at this point, it should be treated as rumor, until someone confirms it.
Abrams now joins a Star Wars directors list that includes George Lucas, Irvin Kershner and Richard Marquand. Lucas, the creator of the franchise who sold Star Wars to Disney for $4 billion late last year, directed four of the films, including the three most recent ones, but has bowed out of the franchise in a major role after selling it.
“Star Trek: Into Darkness” hits theaters in May.