By now pretty much everyone knows that J.J. Abrams is (or at least was) a self-professed non-fan of “Star Trek.” But just in case there are still a few Trekkies out there who still aren’t aware that the rebooted series of their beloved franchise is being helmed by a former non-believer, Abrams is continuing to make that fact known upon the eve of the U.S. release of “Star Trek Into Darkness.”
Abrams was the guest of honor on this week’s episode of “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” to talk about the new “Trek” and his impending segue into “Star Wars.”
“By the end of this segment you will come up with, write and sell another television program,” said Stewart, acknowledging Abrams’ reputation as one of Hollywood’s most prolific multitaskers. That multitasking will soon involve taking on what’s arguably the most popular property in all of pop culture, with Abrams perhaps set to be the Chosen One who finally makes peace between fans of “Star Trek” and fans of “Star Wars,” who have engaged in a bitter rivalry for decades.
While Stewart jokingly claimed that there really isn’t much difference between the two series (“One is an allegory of modern society set in a space environment in the future and one is an allegory of modern society set in a space environment in the past”), Abrams pointed out that the two mega-franchises have fundamental differences … the strongest being that, once upon a time, he just couldn’t care less about one of them.
“I never liked ‘Star Trek’ when I was a kid,” said Abrams. “Growing up, I thought, honestly, I couldn’t get into it. My friends loved it. I would try, I would watch episodes but it always felt too philosophical to me. Some of the writers loved ‘Star Trek,’ I was not really a fan, my producing partner never saw it … so when we were all happy it felt like that was the way to go.”
“I stopped listening to you when you said you didn’t like ‘Star Trek,’” joked Stewart, after which Abrams humbly and humorously explained his approach to the series as a non-fan.
“You … and your kind … were much smarter than I was,” laughed Abrams. “I couldn’t get it. So we tried to make it work for people like me … and people like you. The goal [with 'Star Trek Into Darkness'] was to make a movie for moviegoers, not just for ‘Star Trek’ fans. So if you’ve never seen ‘Star Trek’ before, you can still see it.”
However, now that Abrams is completely entrenched in the “Star Trek” universe, he’s a full-fledged Trekkie.
“‘Star Trek’ is my favorite show of all time,” he admitted. “But for some reason it never clicked with me until I started working on it, and then I fell in love with it.”
As far as his upcoming directorial gig on “Star Wars: Episode VII,” Abrams as his usual tight-lipped self, saying only that working on the film is “an incredible, surreal thrill … a total honor.”
J.J. Abrams will no doubt be dodging “Star Wars”-related inquiries for the next couple of years, but ultimately it’s Jon Stewart who isn’t afraid to ask
the really tough questions:
“Why did Felicity cut her hair?”
“Star Trek Into Darkness” opens Friday.