Saturday, January 26, 2013

With JJ Off to Wars, Whither Trek?

Yesterday Disney put out a press release making official the news that stormed the web Thursday, that JJ Abrams had signed on to bring "Episode VII" of the Star Wars saga to the screen, setting the tone for all Wars to come. Some relevant bits: Longtime cohort Bryan Burk will be co-producing through the Bad Robot shingle, and Empire Strikes Back writer Lawrence Kasdan is onboard in some nebulous "consulting" capacity. Good news (Mr. & Mrs. Smith writer Simon Kinberg is also consulting. I'm neutral on that one).

The biggest question, of course, was what this means for that other space-based franchise whose destiny Abrams has been tasked with guiding. With Star Trek Into Darkness due to hit theaters in just over three months, I'm sure the folks at Paramount weren't the happiest campers when this news hit, virtually ensuring that most of the questions the director received during press tours would be some variation of, "Yeah, yeah, Star Trek is great and all, but tell us some more about Star Wars..."

Regardless, Paramount VP Rob Moore confirmed yesterday what I suspected initially, which is that while Abrams will remain involved with Trek post-Darkness, his time directing the good ship Enterprise is very likely over ("he is committed to produce another Star Trek," said Moore, emphasis mine).  I don't have any problem with this at all. After all, he took the same approach with Mission: Impossible, stepping back to produce movie four while Brad Bird called "action," which resulted in the best of all four M:I flicks.

In addition to Abrams, the current Star Trek brain trust determining the franchise's future is comprised of Burke, Damon Lindelof, and Roberto Orci & Alex Kurzman (with Orci the die-hard Trekkie of the bunch, making sure it all "fits" with canon). Given Trek's enduring value to Paramount, and how the 2009 movie rescued it from obsolescence, one assumes that they'll want to make sure that at least a few of those components will remain in place from Bad Robot to ensure that the big screen series doesn't float too far adrift of where the '09 reboot moored it.

Regardless, I'm sure the question of what the future holds for the Star Trek series will be asked-and-answered repeatedly over the next few months and years, as Into Darkness begins its theatrical run and Star Wars begins production. One thing to consider though is that between his' twin stewardship of both Trek and Wars, and the ascension of longtime collaborators (like Matt Reeves to the director's chair on Fox's highly-anticipated sequel Dawn of the Planet of the Apes), it's becoming increasingly clear that this is JJ Abrams' world and we're just living in it.

(Source: The Los Angeles Times)

1 comment:

Jeff K. said...

I think J.J. will direct the third "Star Trek" after he comes home from the "Wars". They've always planned it as a trilogy and Paramount is his home studio. "Star Wars" is a one shot deal and there's plenty of other directors lining up for their shot. If he spends two years on "Wars" and 2 years on "Trek" it'll still be 4 years like it was since the last one (if he doesn't get space fatigue). The only drag is he wouldn't be able to bring out a new "Trek" in time for the 50th anniversary in 2016 (which I bet was the original plan).