Onlookers have viewed the two sci-fi icons as opposite sides of the same coin for years and years — but the hiring of Abrams to direct the new "Wars," despite his role as director of two "Trek" films, brings the franchises closer together than ever, for better or worse. Film critic Jordan Hoffman, a noted "Trek" fan, writes on BadassDigest.com, "I feel like J.J. Abrams took me out to the prom but left with the hotter girl." But not every "Trek" fan sees it this way.
"To be honest, as a fan, I don't have a strong reaction one way or the other," Bonnie Malmat with TrekToday.com tells MTV News. "Part of me was surprised that J.J. took the job as he turned it down last year, but part of me wasn't surprised as he is a huge 'Star Wars' fan."
Anthony Pascale with TrekMovie.com acknowledges that there are many "Trek" fans who share Hoffman's frustration and concerns. "Some fans are angry, feeling that J.J. should stay with 'Trek' for loyalty, at least in the short term," he says. "But others are excited as they want to see what he will do with 'Star Wars.' Like myself, I think most are fans of both. I think mostly fans are wondering what this means for the future of the 'Trek' franchise."
Abrams remains committed to the "Star Trek" series as a producer at the very least, according to a statement released by Paramount. But will he direct the "Into Darkness" follow-up? That's a very different question, according to Malmat.
"He will definitely remain as producer, but whether he directs future 'Trek' remains to be seen," she says. "I would think that depends upon when the third rebooted 'Trek' movie starts production/shooting. I suspect if he can direct, he will, but the 'Star Wars' movie will obviously have priority."
"I expect Abrams would want to be involved in both [franchises], so it will come down to how long Paramount wants to wait for the next 'Star Trek' movie," says Pascale. "There is no way he could direct if they want it in less than four to five years ... if they wanted it in two years, then I don't see how he could lead the project, even as producer."
Even if Abrams doesn't return to helm a third "Trek," Malmat cautions upset fans to look at the bigger picture. "As important as directors are, it's the story that counts," she says. "As long as the story is good, the third rebooted 'Trek' movie will be just fine. Just don't expect lots of lens flare."
"I would say that for now, 'Trek' fans should be patient," adds Pascale. "We don't yet know the impact this will have on the future. Right now the franchise is in a strong position and I believe 'Into Darkness' will be successful. J.J. Abrams was instrumental in bringing 'Star Trek' back into mainstream popularity, and for that we should be thankful. I am sure that he wants to see the franchise thrive into the future and he will do what he can to make sure that happens — either with his involvement, or with a transition."
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Check out everything we've got on "Star Trek Into Darkness."