One would think that J.J. Abrams would leap at the opportunity to do a film like Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which is currently shattering records at the box office. Not only was it the first Star Wars film in over a decade, but the man who formerly took the helm of Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness has now had his turn in the director’s chair with two of the biggest science-fiction franchises in existence. Surprisingly, however, he initially rejected the position when it was first offered to him.
In an interview with The Times, Abrams recalls his thought process when he was first approached by Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy:
“The reality is, I didn’t want to be the guy who does sequels. When Kathy called, I did something I don’t normally do, which is look at my career. I really did feel like, ‘That sounds like the wrong idea.’”
It was a talk with his wife, Katie, which ultimately brought him back around. She told the 49-year-old director that if he turned his back on an opportunity he wanted to take, he would be left with nothing but regret. He knew that she was right, and that not wanting to be “the guy who does sequels” was not a strong enough reason to pass up such a landmark career achievement.
Of course, he wasn’t going to take on a franchise such as Star Wars without ensuring that he had a plan. He had to find a way to make the project his own, while still appealing to fans of all ages who had been longing for a new trilogy since long before the film was announced.
“I wanted people to feel the magic of what Star Wars was: the sense of romance, the sense of heart, the loyalty, the sweetness, the friendship, the unexpected scenarios, the discoveries the characters make, the sense of impossible scale made possible.”
As The Force Awakens continues to break box office records and is expected to break even more by the end of opening weekend, it would appear as if Abrams’ approach was successful. Only one question remains:
What big franchise will he take on next?
Source: The Times Magazine