When Disney announced in January that J.J. Abrams would direct “Star Wars: Episode VII,” the news had major implications for the geek faithful.
While some rejoiced at the prospect of Hollywood’s A-list nerd-auteur shepherding the next entry in the beloved sci-fi franchise, many fans of that other beloved sci-fi franchise, “Star Trek,” wondered what Abrams’ new gig would mean for them.
After all, Abrams had successfully revived “Star Trek” with his 2009 Paramount film, casting Chris Pine as a young James T. Kirk and Zachary Quinto as Spock, and crafting a movie that managed to win over both “Trek” die-hards and newcomers to the series.
He had already shot “Star Trek Into Darkness,” which opens May 17, and was on track to make a third movie.
It turns out it wasn’t just fans wondering what Abrams taking on “Star Wars” meant for Kirk and Spock — Kirk and Spock were wondering too.
“As a friend to a friend I was ecstatic for him,” Pine said, of learning that Abrams had taken the “Star Wars” gig. “If there’s one person specifically designed to take care of a project that big, it’s J.J., just seeing how he operates on a $200-something-million project like ‘Star Trek.’ I would only be unhappy if he didn’t come back and direct the third [‘Star Trek’ movie]. I don’t know what it means for that.”
In an interview in March, Pine and Quinto said they always knew Abrams considered himself more of a “Star Wars” fan than a “Star Trek” one.
“Knowing J.J., this makes perfect sense,” Quinto said. “Knowing the legacy he’s building for himself, as one of the most accomplished directors of his time, it wasn’t surprising. It made me really happy to know that he loves it so much. He’s the ‘Star Wars’ guy. He’s got all his bases covered. It’s the ultimate dream fulfillment.”
While some “Star Wars” and “Star Trek” partisans see the two franchises as competitive, Pine is much more ecumenical in his sci-fi taste.
“The ‘Star Wars’ franchise for many of us was profoundly important,” Pine said. “It was a big experience in the history of cinema. So to be given the keys to that franchise, to be asked to reinvent it, I can completely understand why he jumped at the opportunity.”
Pine and Quinto are both committed to make a third “Star Trek” movie, and Abrams will be aboard as a producer — whether he’ll direct or handpick someone else to do so has not been determined, however.
“J.J. has impeccable taste,” Quinto said. “If he comes to us and says, ‘I can’t do it,’ I believe that process …”
“He’s too much of an Oz,” Pine interrupted. “His presence will be felt. Whoever he taps without a doubt will be someone that he trusts.”
“But it would be great if we could have the experience of the trilogy to remain intact,” Quinto said. “We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.”
–Rebecca Keegan| @thatrebecca
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