Will JJ Abrams Bring Star Trek Bronze or Avengers Gold to Star Wars?
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 Entertainment Weekly how much he loved Star Wars and how much the franchise meant to him.
"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 grossed more than $250 million domestically and just over $385 million worldwide. Paramount Pictures, the Viacom (NASDAQ: VIA ) studio that produced the film, seemed to be very pleased with the results.
That success may have been what attracted Disney (NYSE: DIS ) 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 Star Trek.
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?
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