If Abrams Does Star Wars, What Happens to Star Trek?

The news – officially confirmed by Lucasfilm for the first time last night – that JJ Abrams will direct the next Star Wars movie sent the Internet insane on Thursday, with social media filled with jokes about lightsabers and lens flare and excitement about the prospect of the director taking on the most beloved of geek culture, but few asking what seems like an obvious question: If true, what does this mean for Star Trek?

I don’t mean the next movie, because Abrams is presumably already eagerly finishing Star Trek Into Darkness up as you read this. But in moving from Trek to Star Wars, Abrams is seemingly abandoning a franchise that he has near-complete control over for one where he is, at best, a large cog in a well-oiled machine. Presuming that the rumors and reports are correct and that Abrams is doing Star Wars, then Disney must have offered him something very impressive indeed.

Executives at Paramount, however, must be fairly upset with the development. Let’s not forget that, not only has Abrams’ Bad Robot production company been handed the keys to the Trek franchise – Reportedly, Bad Robot is behind the low number of tie-in novels and comics to the new movie continuity (Note that the IDW series that does tie in with the movies is written by someone with ties to Bad Robot), overruling the desire from other executives at Paramount seeking to exploit the franchise as much as possible – but the desire to work around Abrams’ schedule and keep him happy is what left a four year gap between the first and second installments of the reboot movie series. In response, Abrams has either jumped ship altogether or, if he chooses to want to work on a third movie, it’ll apparently have to wait until after the Star Wars project, so we’d be looking at another four year wait at least. Hardly the greatest outcome for the studio, really.

But what is the alternative? Paramount taking Trek back from Bad Robot? It’s possible, of course, but who would they give it to in that case? Pre-Bad Robot, the franchise was in a state of disrepair and the subject of countless attempts to revive it that all failed for one reason or another – And with Bryan Singer back at Fox and the X-Men franchise, the closest alternative Paramount had to Abrams (Singer pitched a Trek series called Federation that almost happened back in 2005) is also unavailable.

More likely, then, that Trek remains with Bad Robot and either ends up somewhat discarded – Surely unlikely, given that the franchise is just three years away from its 50th anniversary – or given to a new director for the next movie. This is probably the best case scenario, outside of Abrams choosing Trek over Star Wars in a couple of ways: Not only does it keep Trek a going concern while Abrams’ attentions are elsewhere, but Bad Robot has proven to pick good directors to follow Abrams on other movie franchises. (It’s clearly not just me who thinks so: The traditional Anonymous Sources are already reporting that Paramount plans for this last option to be the case, with Abrams working on both Star Wars VII and Star Trek 3 simultaneously, as director and producer respectively.)

If nothing else, the loss of Abrams will force Trek to change in some way, however small, and that’s likely for the best for the franchise. Not that Abrams’ Trek was bad – Far from it – but Trek at its heart was always supposed to be about new frontiers, and going where no-one has gone before, after all…

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Comments

  • Bass Guitar Hero

    What happens to Trek is probably the same thing that might have happened with Star Trek XIII with or without Star Wars–Abrams will produce it, but let someone else direct it, IMO. At best, the odds of Abrams directing Star Trek XII were fifty-fifty to begin with, IIRC.

  • Rollo Tomassi

    Abrams has worked with many talented co-creators. It’s not inconceivable that he’d find somebody to pass the directing duties to. Star Trek doesn’t live or die because JJ is in the director’s chair.

  • mylittlbrony

    I vote for Brad Bird to direct

  • http://www.about.me/johnnypappas Johnny

    Star Trek has been revitalized and is making money again for Paramount.  I don’t see them doing anything drastic, it’s not a fanboy v. fanboy situation.  

  • Tomfitz1

    No reason why he can’t do both. He’s a multi-tasker!  ;-)

    As long as he makes money for both franchises, I’m sure everybody would be happy.

  • Hgjnklnj

    yes.

  • Orphan

    The best thing that could happen to Star Trek is that Abrams ends his association with Trek and we can dump his whole reboot and move on to something else.We need to move beyond the Victoria Secrets underware model approach to the casting and Godawful  scripting and comic prequels that he ends up dumping because he actually realises they are better than the movies and make him look bad.

  • Sal

    Abrams directing Star Trek 2 wasn’t always a guarantee. I assume if he’s busy with Star Wars, he’ll simply recommend someone like Matt Reeves to direct, while he’ll continue to produce/executive produce.

  • Nexus

    I don’t have a problem with Abrams, but I hate the reboot.
    I want the show to move forward and this whole ‘back to the original series’ thing is so obnoxious.
    What are they going to do in a decade or so? Move on to a rebooted version of the TNG cast?

  • percane

     yes, iirc, he didn’t agree to direct it until something like 2 years after the first one came out.

  • Lewis4510

    They’ll probably be recasting Spock too because ZQ has said in interviews that he has no interest in a third Trek film. He signed on for only two movies, the first and one sequel. If they want him back for a third they’ll be coughing up some hefty coinage.

  • Orphan

    Good because Quinto sucks as Spock

  • beane2099

    Pretty sure Abrams won’t let the Trek franchise fall apart with the big 5-0 approaching.  He picked a more than worthy successor for MI: 4 in Brad Bird.  Pretty sure they’ll have something similar with the next Trek.  But man, Trek AND WARS being handles by the same person?  In the sci fi world this is like end-of-the-world level stuff.

    With the anniversary coming up, I’m hoping they do something cross franchise related.   Like maybe an encounter with a rebooted Next Gen cast???  I’m just sayin’ that’d be pretty cool.

  • Drew_Melbourne

    They’ve announced that Bad Robot will continual to produce the Star Trek and Mission: Impossible movies. Remember that Abrams produced M:I 4 with Brad Bird directing, and folks thought that was pretty good.

    I suspect that Paramount are OK with Abrams jumping ship to Star Wars, if for no other reason than that it will boost interest in the new Star Trek movie.

  • Fury

    they get someone else who does a better job. hell, bring back Jonathon Frakes as director. He directed the best Trek movie of the last 15 years: First Contact.

  • http://twitter.com/jfthuecks Jacob F. Thuecks

    lots of great directors could do good work with the characters/ universe they created in the last film.  also why would paramount care if it’s produced by bad robot or not, money is money.  jj was just a hired gun for them just like he is for disney.  

    useless article.

  • http://twitter.com/amber_stone Amber Stone

    Give it to Joss.

  • BurningDoom

    Star Trek has been around for nearly 50 years, most of that time without Abrams. I’m sure the franchise will be fine.

  • ommytror

     How about Joss Whedon or Christopher Nolan’s Star Trek? Or even JMS’s Star Trek!

  • demoncat_4

    or paramount just accepts that jj is now going to be busy with star wars. and finds a new director and be satified with jj just being able to produce a third film instead of directing it or just wait till jj is done with star wars . but odds are parmount to continue milking star trek again given these new events will proably move on with a new director for a third one .

  • Andagil

    Ultimate geek convergence: James McAvoy as the rebooted Jean-Luc Picard.

  • http://twitter.com/TheAnimart The Animart

    I have to agree with most of the people, I really can not see why Abrams would have difficulty in bringing both franchises to the cinema within a short time of each other (Tim Burton has done this in the past). Plus this isn’t the 1950′s anymore, directors aren’t tied permanently to one film house anymore, so hoping between the two is possible

  • Bob

    Sometimes, I wonder if Graeme carries around a sign that says “The sky is falling.  Is the end night?”

  • Schnitzy Pretzelpants

    What happens to Star Trek?

    Maybe the franchise will be a science-fiction one again, instead of space-opera.

    Seriously, I loved JJ’s Star Trek, but it wasn’t really Star Trek.  Or it was Star Trek as viewed through a Star Wars lense.

    I would love to see Star Trek have a popular director and a script that weaves science fiction ideas with action and excitement, instead of just leaving either element on the table.

    Happy as punch that JJ is doing Star Wars and think it is a MUCH better fit.

  • Mou101

    Exactly my wish, too.

  • Mou101

    My wish exactly.

  • XMEN3 all over again

    TREK 3 will go the XMEN 3 route…. they will play it off like its not- but it will end up a disapoitment……then you will have 3-4 more yrs between trek3 & 4…….4 will have a new director and vision. a total revamp…. it will not do too much money and be released in the fall of that year…..  basically the franchise will end up as it was by the time NEMISIS came out.

    TREK is over after JJ leaves….. worst move for fans of trek….. great for SW fans…

  • kirks big shaft

    if he does both then expect little tonal difference between both already similar franchises.

    As if 2009s TREK did not already visually feel like a star wars movie

  • Omegasaga

    please tell me ( aside from st wrath of Khan)  what trek movie was BETTER than 2009s trek?

    First Contact?– no sorry charlie

    Voyage Home?– please.

    hell I am a die hard fan of the 80s trek movies but even i can see how 2009 was a fantastic film in every possible way.

  • Omegasaga

    Nexus– i liked Nemesis alot. more so than first contact. THought the next Gen cast had another 5th movie in them….. but 2009s Trek was THE BEST trek film ever made!!!!  ( maybe not as good as Khan though)

    When this rebooted universe played out in 10 plus yrs or so. ( 4yrs later and we are only on a 2nd film)  I would imagine an equal excitment for a NEXT GEN reboot after this one is done…..  by then history will have repeated itself….

    cause voyager and Deep space certainly dont have what it takes to carry a film…. Enterprise was a joke

  • Omegasaga

    i read they signed on for 4 films with contractual negotiations after the 2nd

  • Omegasaga

    I dont understnad why TREK fans think this is a good thing at all?   Sure its great for Star Wars because trek 2009 was an awsome SW film basically.

    But it means either trek 3 will go the xmen 3 route—- or you will have episode 8 & trek 3 be virtually identical  visually and tonaly.   and thats not good at all.

  • Jimmy

    I see a Fanboy.

  • beane2099

    Well, I’m a sci fi fan. I don’t really identify myself by franchise (although Star Trek 2 WAS the first movie I saw in theaters). But in the 80′s we had Star Trek and Star Wars movies coming out together and there was no problem. They’re just too different. But, like I stated above, Abrams directed an awesome Mission Impossible 3, and stayed on to produce MI:4 with a different director (Brad Bird), and that was even better than 3.

    With X3, Singer was taken off the project completely after he left to do Superman. Fox just put another director and used a wholly different script from what Singer originally had in mind. So this isn’t the same scenario. Either way, my point still stands. Nothing to worry about.

  • Double_v1138

    every trek movie was better than the jj trek move in imo…you may have a different opinion but it doesnt make you right and it doesnt make me right so stop acting like your opinions are iron clad facts….my brother hates star trek with a passion as he’s a star wars fan and hated the new jj trek movie but actually liked Voyage Home…Roger Ebert whos pry the most respected living film critic actullay gave Voyage Home 3 1/2 stars out of 4 and only gave the new trek movie 2 1/2 stars. I highly recommend all Trekkies read his review of the movie. Non Trekkies will pry always love the 2009 film best because its a dumbed down bloated popcorn sfx laden space opera movie (something Trek was never meant to be). The Real Star trek (The TV Series and all the movies before JJ’s 2009 movie) played with questions about science, ideals, and/or philosophy. Now those stories and characterizations have been replaced with loud and colorful action set pieces. You might be dazzled by what 200 million dollars of todays special effects can do and that may in your opinion make it a better movie but it sure doesnt for everybody.

  • NeronWillRise

     As a life-long Trek fan, I can’t do anything, but shake my head at your statement.

    As a member and observer of Trek and the Trek fan community, I’m baffled by this self-perpetuated notion of Star Trek as this super-intellectual, hard sci-fi allegorical tale. It’s mostly myth. Trek has always been thoughtful, even brilliantly so, but it was created to be a “wagontrain to the stars”. It was an action/adventure piece right from the get-go. JJ Trek was no more or less heartfelt or thoughtful than the ones before it. The only difference is, the crew had just met one another so the familiarity wasn’t there. It still had everything essential to the human experience (loss, loyalty, love, destiny, morality, sadness, revenge) that every other Trek had. It simply had better realized action and a better budget. People somehow hold that against it for some reason which makes no sense.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Green.Overalls Jonathan Woodliff

    Jonathan Frakes should Direct the next Trek movie- Perfect choice in my opinion.

  • Respondent#124847

    The Final Frontier was better than either pile of crap that Abrams has put out, as was The Motion Picture. And those are generally considered the worst of the previous movies.