Now that Star Trek: Into Darkness is nearing release, director J.J. Abrams is turning his attention to the Star Wars revival he will begin working on next. Although the sci-fi space franchises tell markedly different stories, Abrams has found some commonalities between them, he tells Empire magazine in a new interview in which the longtime Star Wars fan cautions that he’s “just getting started” on Episode VII.
“There are infinitely more questions than answers right now, but to me, they’re not that dissimilar,” he said. “Though I came at these both from very different places, where they both meet is a place of ‘Ooh, that’s really exciting,'” he said. “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.'”
He continued, “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. 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.”
Abrams also said Steven Spielberg has been “very encouraging” and explained why he took on the project after initially turning it down last year. “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,” he said. “So when I met with [Lucasfilm president] 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.”
Disney bought Lucasfilm and the Star Wars franchise last October and announced plans to film a new trilogy of movies, with the first, Episode VII, slated for a 2015 release. Disney also plans stand-alone offshoot films. Last week, Harrison Ford hinted that he, along with co-stars Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher, will be reunited in a future Star Wars film, and George Lucas has said he had already signed the trio for a return before the Disney deal. Abrams’ Star Trek: Into Darkness is set for a May 17th release.