Few men are as big of a Star Wars fanboy as JJ Abrams. His
love of both trilogies -- particularly the first one -- has been
apparent in his work for years. In November, he told
how much he loved Star Wars and how much the franchise meant to
"As a kid I was always a fan of special effects," he said.
"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. It
was funny and romantic and scary and compelling and the visual
effects just served the characters and story. It galvanized for
me; not for what was exciting about how movies were made, but
rather for what movies were capable of."
During that interview with Entertainment Weekly, Abrams denied
reports that he was in the running to direct the next (and
presumably final) Star Wars trilogy, which would encompass
Episode VII, Episode VIII and Episode IX.
He continued to deny his association with Star Wars, and while
directors have been known to hide their projects, most people
believed him. After all, this was the man who had taken on Star
Trek as a consolation prize for not directing Star Wars. When he
accepted the offer to direct the first new Star Trek film, Star
Wars was long over. There was no hope for a franchise revival now
that its creator, George Lucas, had gone into semi-retirement
mode. Abrams assumed (like the rest of us) that he had missed out
on the last change to direct a Star Wars film.
Thus, he did what he had to and settled for less. However, he
did not give up the Star Wars dream -- he merely reconfigured it
to match his new project. His Star Wars-inspired ideas were
apparent throughout the first Star Trek film, and will likely be
apparent throughout the second.
Without question, Abrams turned Star Trek into a hit. The film
more than $250 million
domestically and just over $385 million worldwide. Paramount
Pictures, the Viacom (NASDAQ:
) studio that produced the film, seemed to be very pleased with
That success may have been what attracted Disney (NYSE:
) to Abrams. However, Disney did not hire him to produce a Star
Wars film that could make $400 million at the box office. George
Lucas could do that with his eyes shut (and with Jar-Jar Binks,
no less!). No -- Disney hired Abrams to direct a Star Wars film
that would go on to make as much or more money than The Avengers,
whose global box office receipts topped $1.5 billion. In other
words, Disney hopes (and apparently believes) that Abrams can
raise his box office earnings by roughly 300 to 400 percent.
Whether or not fans will be satisfied with Abrams'
interpretation of Star Wars is open to debate. One thing is for
certain, however: Abrams has a history of walking away from his
projects. He co-created Lost and left it to make movies and to
produce a smattering of TV shows. He took on the
Mission:Impossible franchise as director and abandoned it for
Now he is walking away from Star Trek -- his Star Wars
consolation prize -- for a Galaxy Far, Far Away.
Star Wars may very well be the ultimate project for Abrams,
one that he will be determined to finish. For him, however, the
grass is always greener on the other side. He is never satisfied.
Is this really the man Disney wants to direct a franchise that
has already cost the company more than $4 billion?
(c) 2013 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment
advice. All rights reserved.
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