This news was a long time coming and surprising to probably no one, but now it’s official: J.J. Abrams will not direct the next Star Trek movie. At first I read the headline as “J.J. Abrams won’t direct the next Star Wars” and the cigarette I wasn’t even smoking fell out of my mouth, making a trash-cans-banging-and-cat-screech sound effect as it landed. But no, he’s still directing Star Wars: Episode VII, just not Star Trek Into Darkerness: Even Darker And We’re Still Pretending Mass Deaths In San Francisco Were No Biggie.
The confirmation comes from an interview with J.J. Abrams and Simon Pegg at Collider:
J.J., how important was it for you to stay involved with the franchise, even though you won’t be available to direct the next film? Does it feel a bit like you’re sending your baby away to college?
J.J. ABRAMS: It’s a little bittersweet. But, I will say that I’m going to be producing the movie. Whomever it is that directs the film will be someone we all know is going to keep the cast and crew in good hands. I feel very lucky to have been part of it, and it definitely feels like the right time to let someone come in and do their own thing. I certainly don’t want someone to come in and try to do what I would have done. We want to hire someone who’s gonna come in and bring their own sensibility. I’m very excited to see what comes next, despite feeling jealous of whomever that person is.
Are you already giving creative input, as Alex Kurtzman and Bob Orci are breaking the story?
J.J. ABRAMS: Yeah, we’re working on the story now.
Simon, are you a little nervous, at all, not to have J.J. Abrams there to direct the third film, or is it just its own thing now, regardless of who is at the helm?
SIMON PEGG: It’s gonna be strange because J.J. is such a part of it, but his stamp will be very much on it. And whoever he gets to direct it will be someone he trusts implicitly. We’ve also got each other, as well. The whole cast is very united. It will be interesting. It will be fun to get a different take on it. We’ve gotta keep evolving it. I guess it can only be good for the story, as long as it’s the right person.
Oh man. I guess we’ll just have to speculate about what the third J.J. Abrams Star Trek movie could have been. Oh, wait. I think we found a trailer for it…