“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. 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.
“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.”
Lucasfilm had whipped fans into a frenzy earlier this year when they announced that J.J. Abrams would be the man responsible of bringing Star Wars back to the big screen. The director had originally turned down the Episode VII gig last year, throwing people off the scent by saying: “I am looking forward more than anyone to the next iterations of Star Wars, but I believe I will be going as a paying moviegoer!”
But in a surprise turnabout he subsequently accepted the mantle of bringing new hope to the galaxy far, far away.
“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. 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.
“I will say that Steven [Spielberg] was very encouraging of Star Wars. It’s funny because I talked to him about it and it turned out he knew all about what was going on.”
You can read more of the exclusive interview with J.J. Abrams in the May issue of Empire, on sale Thursday March 28.