Back in October we first learned that the Walt Disney Company purchased the Lucasfilm Company (and all of its properties, including the Star Wars franchise) for $4 billion dollars and that a new Star Wars film was going into pre-production. At the time, folks started wondering which big name Hollywood directors would be courted to helm the new Star Wars: Episode VII. In November, J.J. Abrams’s name came up but he denied that he would be involved with the film at all … which I thought was a good idea since he is now in charge of the new Star Trek film franchise. Earlier this month, we heard that director Zack Snyder might be up for the directing job … until late yesterday when it was officially announced that, yes, J.J. Abrams has been signed on as the new director of Star Wars … to which I respond, really???
Despite his public declaration a few weeks ago that he was not interested, J.J. Abrams will direct the next â€œStar Warsâ€ chapter after all. An official announcement about the hiring of Mr. Abrams is expected to come later Thursday from Walt Disney Studios and its Lucasfilm unit, according to a person with knowledge of the matter who asked for anonymity to avoid conflict with the studios. A script for the movie is being written by Michael Arndt (â€œLittle Miss Sunshineâ€), and the film is expected to be released in 2015. Mr. Abrams has long been popular with the science fiction crowd; his next movie is â€œStar Trek Into Darkness,â€ set for release by Paramount Pictures in May. His decision to tackle â€œStar Wars,â€ which was first reported by the Hollywood news blog theWrap.com, comes as a surprise, however, because he told Entertainment Weekly in November that he wasnâ€™t interested in the job. â€œI have some original stuff I am working on next,â€ he said then.
Now, no offense to J.J. because I generally like his work but I don’t understand the thought process of hiring the same director who is currently working on a competing sci-fi film franchise. Star Wars and Star Trek have always been competitors … with Star Wars dominating in film and Star Trek dominating on TV. Abrams’s new Star Trek film franchise has been hugely successful (the sequel is due out in months) and it has his stamp all over it. I cannot understand, with all the amazing directors out there, why Disney would choose to hand over arguably their most-anticipated new film (and the first new Star Wars film in years) to a man who is now already associated with Star Trek. Not that he would do this, cuz I’m sure he’ll do everything he can not to, but I wouldn’t want to risk having the Star Wars and Star Trek films look too similar. I dunno … as much as I want to be excited by this news, I’m just not. Maybe I’m just worrying over nothing but … I am concerned. What do y’all think? Does it sound like a good idea to have the same director helm both the Star Wars and the Star Trek film franchies at the same time?