'Super 8' Director J.J. Abrams: A Career Cheat Sheet

J.J. Abrams' career is a dreamscape of aliens, island-dwellers, secret agents, interstellar travelers and fringe science investigators. We'd say his workload is about to get a little lighter, as "Lost," the show he created, pushes toward its series finale in May. But his new spy drama, "Undercovers," has just been picked up by NBC for the upcoming season.

And then there's "Super 8," the mysterious alien flick whose teaser trailer is currently burning up the Web. Abrams is said to be finishing up work on the script and will start shooting the movie in the fall. In short, the guy's got a busy few years ahead of him. Let's take a look at what he has planned.

"Super 8"

In December, we heard that Abrams' next film would likely be a top-secret Paramount film, but details didn't drop until late last month. Written and directed by Abrams and produced by Steven Spielberg, "Super 8" takes on the legend of Area 51. It is not, as some speculated, connected to 2008's "Cloverfield," the Abrams-produced alien disaster flick. "Super 8" is set to shoot this fall with an eye on a summer 2011 theatrical release.

"Mission: Impossible IV"

This long-gestating continuation of Tom Cruise's superspy franchise has been in the works for years, pretty much since Abrams wrote and directed the third installment in 2006. In June, Abrams announced that he'd return for "M:I IV" as a producer. Brad Bird ("The Incredibles") is set to take on directing duties. Originally slated for Memorial Day weekend in 2011, the movie was just pushed back to December 16.


This Fox series is Abrams' attempt to create a show that mixes slowly developing mysteries, à la "Lost," with the weekly payoff of a crime procedural. The second season will wrap up in late May, and it's already been renewed for a 22-episode third season.


Like "Fringe," "Undercovers" is another Abrams co-creation. It stars Boris Kodjoe and Gugu Mbatha-Raw as a married couple who are also spies. Abrams directed the pilot, and NBC picked up the series for a 13-episode season earlier this month.

"Star Trek 2"

Abrams' 2009 reboot of this venerable franchise grossed $385 million worldwide, and the sequel is expected to drop on June 29, 2012. Joining returning writers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci is "Lost" exec producer Damon Lindelof. Last fall, Abrams told us that he and his team already have some broad-stroke ideas for the new film.

"Cloverfield 2"

There's been talk about another "Cloverfield" ever since the first alien disaster flick grossed $170 million at the worldwide box office. It's proceeded with fits and starts ever since, but director Matt Reeves told us in March that "there are these spikes in activity. There are things that we keep talking about and things spike up. It very well may happen."

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