UPDATED: Rumors swirl that J.J. Abrams is dropping out of directing Star Wars: Episode VII. Will he return to direct Star Trek 3?
UPDATE: As expected, Lucasfilm has issued a statement denying tensions with J.J. Abrams: "There is no truth to the rumor. J.J. is having a great time working on the script and is looking forward to going into production next year."
Uh, oh. Has J.J. Abrams found the project that even he cannot tackle? After the huge fanfare at his taking over George Lucas' STAR WARS universe with STAR WARS: EPISODE VII, many wondered if having Disney and Lucasfilm controlling the overall project would be too much for Abrams to handle. After having the freedom to completely reinvent STAR TREK, Abrams now has strictures in furthering the legacy of STAR WARS.
While STAR TREK 3 has found new screenwriters in Zack Stentz and Ashley Edward Miller (FRINGE, THOR, X-MEN: FIRST CLASS), rumors continue to include Abrams as the director of that second sequel. Blastr reports that Zachary Quinto shared some details that had Abrams directing STAR TREK 3 in 2014, which was quickly refuted by writer/producer Roberto Orci:
"I'd love to have J.J. back. We're still talking to Paramount about what the scheduling might be and if we can all do it together again, but yeah I read that too and I was like, 'Whoa, does [Quinto] know something I don't? I'd better call him.' He owes me a call."
With new screenwriters just hired, it would make more sense to have the movie shoot in 2015 for a release in 2016 to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the original STAR TREK series. But, one constant has been hearing that J.J. Abrams would still direct. These new rumors that Abrams is on the verge of dropping out of STAR WARS: EPISODE VII have been reaching fever pitch in recent days with Comic Con surely fanning the flames. Critic Ali Arikan tweeted this update:
Arikan also claims that casting announcements and shooting dates will be announced this Saturday at Star Wars Celebration Europe. While I doubt Germany will be hearing STAR WARS: EPISODE VII news before we hear it here in the States, crazier things have happened. Keep your ears and eyes open for more news soon.
STAR WARS: EPISODE VII hits theaters, with or without J.J. Abrams, in 2015.