J.J. Abrams has cemented himself as a major franchise player, but as he develops more DC projects, he has little interest in directing them.
J.J. Abrams may be developing various DC projects, but he doesn’t think he’ll be directing anything set within that superhero world. Abrams rose to fame through television, creating and writing for shows such as Felicity, Alias, and Lost. Over the years, he transitioned more into film and became something of a mainstay within the genre franchise world. He helped reboot both Star Trek and Star Wars for the big screen; his most recent directorial effort was 2019’s hotly debated Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
Since then, Abrams has begun to build up an impressive development slate through his Bad Robot production company, which includes multiple DC-based projects. This includes a Justice League Dark series for HBO Max and a Superman reboot, which would focus on a Black Kal-El. In regards to the latter, the Superman movie remains without a director, but it is already clear it won’t be Abrams. Warner Bros. is committed to looking for a Black director for the project, though it also sounds like Abrams doesn’t have much interest in directing movies centered around established IP at this time.
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Abrams recently spoke to Collider about his Apple TV+ series Lisey’s Story (a Stephen King adaptation he produced). During the conversation, he touched upon whether he would ever step behind the camera for any of the DC projects he is currently working on. Abrams confessed that, at this point, he would rather direct an original project:
“I know that Hollywood is a place where it used to be that people would be inspired by something that they would see or an old film or a show or something and think, ‘Oh, here’s my response to that. Here’s a version of that that.’ It’s become a place where, more often than not, you see something and people get inspired by it and go, ‘Let’s redo that exact thing.’ I feel like, as someone who started writing in television and telling original stories on film and in TV, it is something that I really do miss. The few things that I’m working on now, as a writer, are original ideas. I just feel, as a director, I really would love to have my next projects be things that didn’t pre-exist me necessarily.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Abrams called working with beloved IP as a “double-edged sword.” Over the years, Abrams has made his mark on franchises like the previously mentioned sci-fi behemoths and Mission: Impossible. It’s been some time since he took on a wholly original project as a director; the last (and only) was in 2011, with Super 8. After spending so much time shepherding these giant franchises, it makes sense that Abrams would like to take a step back and focus on something he developed himself. As he likely saw with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, established IP can come with intense reactions from fans who have pre-determined ideas of what should happen. Abrams has more creative freedom with original pieces.
This isn’t to say he won’t ever return to the franchise sphere, of course. Abrams still has all those DC projects on the pipeline, and though he evidently won’t be directing them, he’ll have a hand in what happens. In fact, it will be interesting to see how the DC projects turn out as franchise installments Abrams helped develop, but did not direct himself. This has already been seen through the other properties Abrams has worked with, but DC is new territory for him. Who knows what the future holds?
More: Every J.J. Abrams Movie, Ranked From Worst To Best
- The Suicide Squad (2021)Release date: Aug 06, 2021
- The Batman (2022)Release date: Mar 04, 2022
- DC Super Pets (2022)Release date: May 20, 2022
- Black Adam (2022)Release date: Jul 29, 2022
- The Flash (2022)Release date: Nov 04, 2022
- Aquaman 2 (2022)Release date: Dec 16, 2022
- Shazam 2 (2023)Release date: Jun 02, 2023
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