J.J. Abrams on Westworld and why he likely won't return to Star Wars
With the enormous success that STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS has enjoyed, most directors would want to return to that well for take two, but that was never an option for J.J. Abrams, no matter how STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS ended up being received. While speaking with Fortune, Abrams said that while he enjoyed his time in the Star Wars universe, he knew that he would be stepping down and passing on the reins.
It was a wonderful way to visit a place that meant so much to me and obviously so many. I knew that if it worked, it was the perfect time to step down – and if it didn’t, no one would want me to do it anyway.
Can't disagree with that, always a good feeling to go out on top. J.J. Abrams obviously isn't stepping away from Star Wars entirely as he's going to remain on-board as executive producer of STAR WARS: EPISODE VIII and STAR WARS: EPISODE IX.
I’m very happy to be where I am, Rian Johnson [who is currently directing Episode Eight] is brilliant and needs no help from me. As executive producer, I’ve been collaborating with them, but they are obviously doing all of the heavy lifting and it’s very exciting to see what’s going on.
Another upcoming project in which J.J. Abrams is involved with is HBO's upcoming adaptation of Michael Crichton's WESTWORLD. The series, which is described as "a dark odyssey about the dawn of artificial consciousness and the future of sin", was something that Abrams has always wanted to work on. He had a meeting over twenty years ago with Crichton about adapting the property and it's taken all this time to finally get going. Much like STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS, Westworld is a bit of a passion project for Abrams, who told Fortune that:
At the heart of Westworld is this story of consciousness and oppression and discover, it’s one of the projects I feel most grateful and lucky to be a part of. What [the directorial team has] done is so stunning and cool and they’re not rushing it because of business maters and the network is giving them the time. That is never a bad move.
STAR WARS: EPISODE VIII is set for a December 15, 2017 release, but HBO hasn't yet laid down a firm release date for Westworld.