Star Trek director Abrams may find himself facing some ire from the fans of the series, when Star Wars: Episode VII is released. Despite the relief among fans over J.J. Abrams’ 2009 revival of the Star Trek series, 2013 saw him face scathing reviews over allegations of the poor treatment of the franchise’s characters in the sequel Star Trek: Into Darkness. First, the world’s largest media corporation, Disney, acquired Lucasfilm, the Holy Grail of science fiction feature films, in 2012. The two largest science fiction franchises on the planet were then placed in the hands of one man: J.J. Abrams.
Abrams’ meteoric ascent to director and writer of the Star Trek series is as impressive as the impact of the two television shows he created: Lost and Alias. While the latter may be consigned to the back room of collective celluloid memory, albeit with positive reviews, the former occupies a special place as one of the most engaging science fiction dramas of modern television. Both give him a solid resume with the genre.
With at least two Emmy Award winning series, Abrams’ candidacy as director for two of the longest running science fiction series on television and on the big screen may be justified. This, however, may leave die-hard fans with a degree of uneasiness and even ire that Abrams may find hard to overcome when Star Wars: Episode VII hits theaters in 2015. Some of this discomfort comes from the fact that Abrams appears to have reneged on his own claim of loyalty to the Star Trek franchise. In a 2012 interview, he declared that “because of my loyalty to Star Trek, also just being a Star Wars fan, I would not even want to be involved in the next version of those things.”
Nine months later, Lucasfilm confirms his involvement, not just as replacement screenwriter, but as director of Star Wars: Episode VII. This is not the first of the turnarounds that J.J. Abrams can be accused of. Within the industry, rumor mills continue to generate hype about the possible fallout between Abrams and IMAX’s Richard Gelfond. Back in September 2012, Gelfond, the chief executive officer of IMAX made a very public announcement that Star Wars: Episode VII may be shot on IMAX. This month, Abrams announced that he prefers to shoot the movie on film, citing the noise and unreliability of IMAX as a significant problem. Sci-fi fans around the world may suffer his choice to direct both franchises, but the question remains as to whether the industry will tolerate such a quick decision to change formats.
Finally, there is the admission that could see Abrams expelled from Star Trek conventions around the world. In several interviews, Abrams has admitted to not being a fan of the original series
“Frankly, I was not a big Star Trek fan when I first got involved with the films,” he said, “but the idea of a Star Trek that did appeal to me was an exciting challenge.”
There is only one problem with creating a film that appeals to a director’s interpretation of a franchise with a cult following; admitting to loving his own interpretation more than the original films or television series. To an extremely faithful fan base, this has been the most damning revelation. It is one that may see J.J. Abrams face their collective ire when Star Wars: Episode VII is released. Abrams may still be able to redeem himself with an untitled Star Trek sequel that is currently said to be in development. Until then, despite all the rumors, Abrams remains securely in control of two of the greatest science film fiction franchises on the planet.
By Grace Stephen