The Wrap reports that the Paramount/CBS scuffle over Star Trek merchandising rights prevented J.J. Abrams and Bad Robot from doing quite as much as they would have liked to with the franchise off-screen – and that struggle could have had a part in him signing on with Lucasfilm. His Star Wars contract may allow Abrams a hand in the Star Wars “television properties, theme park rides and spin-off films” that will emerge in the new era his Episode VII is spearheading.
As successful as “Star Trek” has been, few franchises match the profitability and cultural prominence of George Lucas’ space opera, which would be difficult for any director to pass up.
“Disney has always been oriented to multi-platform revenue stream situations,” Seth Willenson, a film library valuations expert, told TheWrap.
Moreover, Willenson notes that Abrams, who has a deal that is believed to include creative and profit participation in “Star Wars” inspired merchandise and spin-offs, will have more control in shaping the legacy of the Skywalker clan than he would have had with developing side projects for the “Star Trek” crew.
Granted, while Lucasfilm, and thus Disney, does own most of Star Wars free and clear, the franchise isn’t totally free of hurtles. 20th Century Fox has distribution rights to the first Star Wars“in perpetuity,” while the other 5 will revert to LFL in 2020. This could complicate things like box sets in the future, but for Abrams, that’s not going to be an immediate issue, or stop him from exploring multi-platform options.
Meanwhile, it’s Bryan Burk’s turn to talk about Episode VII and secrecy with /Film.
More interviews with J.J. Abrams as we near the release of Star Trek Into Darkness. Collider presents an interview from Brazilian site Omelete who ask Abrams about Han shooting first, the prequels and his favorite Star Wars film.
And from the Associated Press, Abrams points out the ridiculousness of all the Episode VII questions he’s been getting:
“What the approach is going to be remains to be discussed, because it’s in process,” he said. “So it’s a weird thing to be talking about. If I’m charging down the court dribbling the ball, it’s hard to comment on the layup that’s about to take place.
“I feel like the ball is just getting passed to me now, to complete the annoying metaphor.”
Meanwhile, there’s a nice interview with Abrams’ sometime collaborator Damon Lindelof from The Hollywood Reporter, where he talks about getting into writing, Lost, George Lucas, Star Wars and more.
In ‘Nightmare and Silver,’ the Doctor and Clara head for ‘the greatest theme park in the universe,’ only to find it closed and inhabited only by a shabby few, including Warwick Davis. Cybermen ensue, because of course they do. The episode is written by Neil Gaiman and is the last before next week’s season finale, ‘The Name of the Doctor.’
In other sci-fi TV news, it’s pilot season! ABC picked up Joss Whedon’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., bringing the Marvel synergy to live-action TV. (ABC will air a preview of the show on Sunday.) They also picked up Once Upon a Time spin-off Once Upon a Time in Wonderland and sci-fi mystery show Resurrection
Two J.J. Abrams pilots were picked up as well: Fox nabbed robot police drama Almost Human, while Fox picked up Believe, a collabration with Alfonso Cuarón about a telekinetic ten-year-old. It’s no big shock that The Vampire Diaries spinoff The Originals got picked up, but the CW also greenlit post-apocalyptic The 100, a remake of The Tomorrow People and the human/alien romance Star-Crossed.
Meanwhile, in the cable realm, both SyFy’s Defiance and BBC America’s Orphan Black are getting second seasons.
Like these movies won’t be hits? As the Star Trek Into Darkness junket clips stagger out into the world, Abrams implies to MTV that the Star Wars spinoffs will depend on Episode VII going the distance.
On that note… Simon Pegg talks about Abrams and Star Wars with Totalfilm – though he clarifies that he has no inside info from Abrams. And yes, they’re still asking random movie folks about Episode VII.
Interview. And finally, for someone who will almost certainly actually be in Episode VII, here’s more from Mark Hamill.
Bad Robot’s Bryan Burk – who will apparently be producing Episode VII – told Collider that they hope to start filming Episode VII next year, which only makes sense.
We’re progressing on a schedule to hopefully begin next year, or the beginning of next year, and the location is still kind of floating around in the air all depending on script and a whole bunch of other issues. As I just said, everything is kind of a free-flowing thing, and when we feel like the story level on this script and everything is really coming together and schedules are all working and pieces line up, we prowl ahead, and Star Wars will be no different.
Meanwhile, we’ve seen reports – well, tweets – indicating that screenwriter Michael Arndt may have been hanging out with J.J. Abrams this weekend.
Star Trek? What Star Trek? J.J. Abrams is talking Star Wars again, this time with the BBC.
A self-confessed Star Wars fan, Abrams said he would have to try to mitigate his “geeky fan-boy” feelings about his forthcoming project.
“It’s just about about approaching it from as authentic a place as possible, and not trying to apply what you believe or think, as much as trying to filter everything and get at it from the core of the characters.
“[It should be] what you deeply want to see, never what you assume the fans might like.”
Hrm. I am by no means saying capitulate to the fans, because then we’d just get a movie about Boba Fett shooting shit, but I’m pretty sure a director channeling what he deeply wanted to see is what brought us Superman Returns, which is to say it can be channeling your inner fanboy. It’s a fine line. Please don’t let Episode VII be the Superman Returns to Star Trek’sX-Men. Please don’t pull a Bryan Singer. Please manage it, J.J. You’re our only hope.