Over the past handful of years, J.J. Abrams has made it clear that he is a force to be reckoned with in Hollywood. He may not always make perfect movies, but he has proven that he can tap into what the public really wants to see and has had a lot of success rebooting and reviving beloved properties. He could easily make that his business for the rest of his days, but after the success of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, he has decided that he is done with sequels and reboots.
The director spoke with People after the Golden Globes recently, since he was there for his role as a producer on HBO's Westworld. During the chat, J.J. Abrams revealed that he is very grateful for the opportunities he has been afforded, but that he really wants to turn his attention to original ideas in the future. Here is what he had to say.
"You know, I feel incredibly lucky to have gotten involved in things that I loved when I was a kid. In fact, even Westworld, which we're here for tonight, is one of them. But I don't feel any desire to do that again. I feel like I've done enough of that that I'm more excited about working on things that are original ideas that perhaps one day someone else will have to reboot."
Starting with Star Trek in 2009, J.J. Abrams proved that he can successfully bring a long-standing, beloved franchise into the modern era, all while retaining elements that made it work in the first place. He did the same for Star Wars and he clearly has a knack for it. Some would argue that Star Wars: The Force Awakens is in a lot of ways a remake of Star Wars: A New Hope, but J.J. Abrams did bring new characters and elements into the story. During his chat with People, the director and producer also said that he feels if you aren't going to do anything new, then doing a remake or a reboot in the first place is pointless.
"You know, I do think that if you're telling a story that is not moving anything forward, not introducing anything that's relevant, that's not creating a new mythology or an extension of it, then a complete remake of something feels like a mistake."
No matter how anyone feels personally about what J.J. Abrams was able to do with the Star Trek and Star Wars franchises, the results really do speak for themselves. Star Trek was all but dead, or at least dying, when Abrams took over and he was able to turn it into a very successful trilogy that is now heading into a fourth installment, even if Star Trek Beyond somewhat underperformed (which he did not direct). Then there is Star Wars: The Force Awakens. To say that expectations were high for that movie would be an understatement, but J.J. Abrams managed to walk every fine line and deliver a staggeringly successful movie. The seventh installment in the Star Wars franchise went on to gross more than $2 billion worldwide and is now the highest-grossing movie ever made that wasn't directed by James Cameron.
Even before he took on two of the biggest franchises ever, he made his directorial debut with Mission: Impossible III. That wasn't necessarily a reboot, but after the second movie, the series was in a pretty bad place and he was able to right the ship and tee up Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol and Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation, both of which crushed at the box office and killed it with critics. So yes, he absolutely has a talent for remakes and reboots, but the man can definitely deliver on an original concept as well.
His only original feature, Super 8, borrowed a lot from movies like E.T but repackaged the ideas into something new that really worked and again, succeeded at the box office. As a producer, he is responsible for shows like Lost and Alias, both of which were very successful and were original ideas. Not to mention he is a producer on the Cloverfield movies, which have also delivered in a big way on an original idea. Now with his good name and experience, there is no reason to think he can't direct a successful, original movie. No doubt, all eyes will be on whatever it is he decides to do next, but we can safely say that whatever it is, it won't be a remake or reboot of any kind. Even though he has been rumored to take on Man of Steel 2. He's also attached to produce the Portal video game adaptation, which isn't a sequel or reboot, but is based on existing material.