When it was announced that Lucasfilm and J.J. Abrams would come together to create a new installment of “Star Wars,” it was the meeting of two aggressively private entities. Disney had built a reputation at keeping its game plan close to the vest with its Marvel films, and Abrams has been known throughout his career for the value he places on the mystery box.
So naturally, we didn’t expect to hear much about “Episode VII” for the next few months, especially considering that Abrams is only now finishing up and starting to promote another behemoth of a sci-fi franchise, “Star Trek Into Darkness.” But since Empire dedicated its May issue to the director with the so-called “J.J. Abrams Issue,” we now have a small amount of insight into where his head is as he approaches a galaxy far, far away.
Ever since joining the project, Abrams has made clear the difference between “Star Wars” and “Star Trek” for himself. He grew up as a fan of the former and not of the latter, so Empire asked how that history will change his approach to directing.
“I don’t know because we’re just getting started. So it’s a great question that I hope I’ll have a good answer to when I know what the answer is,” Abrams said. “There are infinitely more questions than answers right now, but to me, they’re not that dissimilar. Though I came at these both from very different places, where they both meet is a place of ’Ooh, that’s really exciting.’ And even though I was never a ’Star Trek’ fan, I felt like there was a version of it that would make me excited, that I would think ’That’s cool, that feels right, I actually would want to see that.’ ”
But even as a hotshot director, there’s still a “guttural passion” for the movies that he loved growing up. “How we were going to get there, what the choices were going to be, who was going to be in it — all of those things I knew would have to be figured out, but it was all based on a foundation of this indescribable, guttural passion for something that could be,” he said. “It’s a similar feeling that I have with ’Star Wars.’ I feel like I can identify a hunger for what I would want to see again and that is an incredibly exciting place to begin a project. The movies, the worlds could not be more different but that feeling that there’s something amazing here is the thing that they share.”
“Episode VII” wasn’t always a sure bet for Abrams, who publically said that he had turned down the job. It was his commitment to “Star Trek Into Darkness” that had deterred him at first, but once that project began to enter his rearview mirror, he saw the potential.
“My knee-jerk reaction was that I’m in the middle of working on the ’Star Trek’ movie and I can’t even consider it. But then time went by and I got further along working on the movie and getting to a place where I had done most of the heavy lifting,” Abrams said. “So when I met with Kathy Kennedy we just started discussing it and I was able to actually engage in the conversation. I went down to tell Katie, my wife, and I said ’I had just a very interesting conversation with Kathy.’ That was the beginning.”
Check out everything we’ve got on “Star Wars: Episode VII.”