J.J. Abrams Passed On Star Wars

J.J. Abrams, who revived Paramount Pictures' Star Trek franchise in 2009, turned down an opportunity to direct Star Wars: Episode VII, the first film in Disney's new trilogy.

"There were the very early conversations and I quickly said that because of my loyalty to Star Trek, and also just being a fan, I wouldn't even want to be involved in the next version of those things," he tells Empire magazine. "I declined any involvement very early on. I'd rather be in the audience not knowing what was coming, rather than being involved in the minutiae of making them."

Since Disney announced plans to purchase Lucasfilm in late October (the deal was completed on Friday), about a dozen different directors have been rumored to be under consideration for Episode VII: Abrams, Brad Bird, Steven Spielberg and Neill Blomkamp were among them, but much of the speculation centers on Matthew Vaughn.

When Empire floated the possibility that Abrams' third Star Trek film could go head to head against one of the episodes in the new Star Wars trilogy, Abrams laughed: "I guess the franchises could go up against each other, but I'm not thinking that far ahead. I'm a huge fan of Star Wars, Empire and Jedi, and the idea of the world continuing is exciting and will be amazing. Kathy Kennedy is a friend and there are no smarter producers. It's in great hands."

Abrams' Star Trek Into Darkness arrives in theaters May 17. Written by Michael Arndt, Star Wars: Episode VII is set to open in 2015.

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