JJ Abrams: Directing 3rd Star Trek A ‘Possibility’ + Talks Shatner ‘Compliment’

According to JJ Abrams, there is still a chance he could return to the director’s chair for a third Star Trek movie (even though he is set to direct the next Star Wars movie). This revelation and more comes from a new lengthy Playboy interview with Abrams. JJ also points to a young director he has his eye on and talks a bit about William Shatner too. Excerpts below.     


Abrams: Directing Next Star Trek Still A Possibility

Playboy magazine has a very lengthy interview with Star Trek Into Darkness producer/director JJ Abrams. Maybe the most newsworthy bit is that JJ has not taken himself out of the running to direct (in addition to producing) the next Star Trek, saying…

PLAYBOY: Let’s talk sequels for a minute. Since you’re doing Star Wars, does that put you out of the running to direct the third Star Trek movie?

ABRAMS: No. I would say it’s a possibility. We’re trying to figure out the next step. But it’s like anything: It all begins with the story.

As discussed here at TrekMovie before, with the next Star Wars movie due in theaters in the summer of 2015 the logistics would prevent Abrams to direct a Star Trek movie in time for Summer of 2016. Since it is expected that Paramount would target the 50th anniversary of the franchise, 2016 is a very likely target for the movie (and Abrams Bad Robot producing partner Bryan Burk has also hinted that 2016 is a target date).

The only realistic way to get both Abrams in the directors chair and to hit 2016 would be to target a holiday release. That would require Abrams to start shooting the third Star Trek almost immediately after he delivers Star Wars Episode VII. That would mean that post-production on Star Wars would overlap with pre-production on Star Trek. Of course if Paramount chose to have another four year gap, then it shouldn’t be too for Abrams to direct the next Trek and deliver it in the summer of 2017.

Playboy sits down with JJ Abrams

The logistics of the next movie butting against the 50th anniversary have lead many to assume Abrams would chose another director, like he did when he tapped Brad Bird for Mission: Impossible: IV (Abrams directed M:I:III). If you want to look for another data point on the hint list, in an unrelated part of the interview Playboy asked Abrams about other directors he likes and he pointed to Looper’s Rian Johnson.

PLAYBOY: Who’s an up-and-coming director to keep an eye on?

ABRAMS: Rian Johnson. I love what he did with Looper, the scope of the movie and the emotion—and that moment when we discover who the Rainmaker is is one of the most chilling, awesome moments I’ve seen in movies in a long time. He has a big career ahead of him.

If you aren’t familiar with Johnson, here is a Looper junket interview with him.

Abrams Talks Shatner ‘Compliment’

There is much much more from Abrams in the Playboy interview on Into Darkness, Star Wars, his TV shows, etc. So it is worth reading but here is another fun gem, with JJ talking about Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner…

PLAYBOY: Did Leonard Nimoy or William Shatner drop by the [Into Darkness] set?

ABRAMS: Leonard did. I love him; he’s always a joy. The cast and crew got to applaud him and give a fraction of the thanks he deserves. He’s just an absolute gentleman. Shatner? [sighs] I haven’t spoken with him in a long time, but I did read something where he gave me a fantastic underhanded compliment. Something like our movie was a fun action ride and maybe one day it’ll have heart. A great compliment only to pull the rug out in a way that only Shatner can do. I adore him.

Abrams is probably referring to Shatner’s January 2013 interview with CNN when he said Abrams was a "great filmmaker" but that the original Star Trek films had "more soul."



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LOL I’m loving the 3rd movie logo! Doing a bit of pop culture titles I see. Last time it was Ghostbusters, now its Godfather. Coincidence?

The one and only time anyone here could legitimately say they bought Playboy for the articles lol


great logo.

please no matterwhat, no four year wait for next movie

P.S. Star Trek Part 3: Kirk vs. Borg. make it happen

Hey, JJ, I’m guessing Paramount is going to want the third installment before 2020. That kinda rules out you directing….

You know what this means?
If we want JJ to direct Trek III/XIII Orci, Lindelof and Kurtzman need to bang out an amazing script pronto so he has no excuse to delay once Star Wars is in the can. Next Trek, 2016!!

i really hope that JJ will direct the 3rd movie!

Star Trek needs JJ!

I hope JJ finds someone else to direct the next film and just produces it. We shouldn’t have to wait an even more ridiculous amount of time just so he can go off and direct his real love. I know this probably sounds dumb and is unrealistic, but I’d love them to bring back Frakes to direct.

I think Star Trek Needs to be done on then 50th Anniversary. Another Director would be a good thing. But. I also Love J.J

Please god no.
Please don’t let JJ anywhere near Star Trek ever again!

Shatner is right. His movies are like rides without a heart.

3 years is plently of time to get Bob Orci and the court to come up with a script and get the ball rolling. It can be and should be done!.

brad bird wouldn’t be a bad choice for Star trek director though.

Rian Johnson making Trek ’16 would be incredible. “Looper” was about as plot-hole free as you could get when it comes to sci-fi. His earlier film “Brick” was amazing.

part 3? here’s what i want: for all that is holy CORRECT THE TIMELINE.. use Q, the borg, temporal agents.. whoever. get new writers(if spoilers are true). the 50th anniversary should be epic and serve the fans (but not in the into darkness way). lose the lens flares, and bring other star trek actors in for cameos as their characters. let it lead off into the worf tv series, or into another series on showtime or syfy. 2016 should be a year of celebration for star trek and boost it back into the limelight.

@15. Well said!

@15. So, put on the big screen everything that is shitty about the franchise that drove it to the point of extinction. Good luck getting that green lit – I don’t even think a fan production would touch that with a ten foot pole…

Sorry JJ but Rian Johnson would be a terrible choice for Star Trek Looper was a horrible confusing mess. Paramount should hire the screenwriters now the live action can be captured whilst prepping for Star Wars in early 2014 or how about letting a certain S.Spielberg direct a Star Trek movie……

@1+3 yes im also liking that AP is going through all the ‘3’ logos

so far BTTF and GF

what next?

Trek III (movie font)
Alien³ (cubed)
Superman III (crystal font)
Jurassic 3 (slash)
X3 (claws)
Episode III (sith style)

@19 having Star Trek 3 with 3 light sabers (or the clearly Star Wars roman numerals) as the provisional logo would so mess with everyone

#11. Calastir – April 24, 2013

Actually, Shatner was addressing its soul and no the heart.

For the threequel 50th anniversary movie (ST’s Skyfall) maybe they should do something that will tie JJ Trek in to the original timeline like the new XMen thats being made – a ‘Star Trek Days of Futures Past’ – maybe working in some of the original cast (obviously Nimoy again, and maybe even Shatner finally), perhaps it could be something about having to return old Spock to the Prime timeline for some reason (maybe something to do with the Borg? – they know about time travel/alternate realities after all). and maybe connecting to TNG (Patrick Stewart cameo for the end scene set in the 24th century?) perhaps even going so far as converging the JJ crew with the TNG crew somehow (either Prime or nuFuture TNG) sort of like how XM DOFP is doing with merging the First Class and X1-3 casts and like the way everyone kind of thought Generations would do a Yesterdays Enterprise. It will have been over 25 years since Yesterdays Ent by 2016 and the YE two crews thing hasn’t been done on the big screen yet (like the way elements of certain episodes have been redone as movies – TMP with Changeling/Doomsday Machine/Immunity Syndrome, TVH – Tomorrow is Yesterday/Assignment Earth/City on the Edge, TFF – Way to Eden/Who Mourns Adonis, & even FC – BOBW & ST09 – YE). And if the film featured Kirk and Co dealing with the borg (building on the hint of borg in ST09) then even more reason to involve TNG in some way as a kind of all encompassing Trek film for the anniversary…(funnily enough 2016 will be FCs 20th anniversary). It will have been 14 years since Nemesis, enough time to heal the wounds and have fans anticipating some TNG again J

So it would be like part 1 (2009) breaking from the original Star Trek timeline to create the new timeline with the aid of a major original series actor (like the way Generations kicked off the TNG movies with the help of Shatner to pass the flame)….part 2 (2013) an original tale involving the nuCrew (as STID looks to be – like First Contact was the first solo movie adventure for TNG)….part 3 (2016) going back to part 1 (and ‘Countdown’) tying everything up (like TDKR sort of went back to Batman Begins and tied it all up)….mending/converging the timelines – without wiping out the JJ timeline of course.
Itd be kind of left field – no would would see it coming espeically after the Timeline wasnt reset to normal at the end of the first movie thus making out that its a complete reboot from now on – only to sort of do it at the end of the 3rd one. (plus itd prevent any further films/tv shows ‘screwing’ with what could be a perfect standalone trilogy as itd be a universe unto itself – like Nolans Bat trilogy)

also set a good few years after ST09/STID to work in some Trek II-VI era ships, Trek III mushroom spacedock, TWOK style uniforms/phasers etc for the nuCrew (i.e. Starfleet would be moving more toward those type of designs as the years go on as in the original timeline)

just thinking out loud anyway – whatever happens it will have to be a special event thing for the 50th – like Skyfall/Dr Who anniversary episode

as for director if no JJ then it has to be Singer (he would be ideal for an anniversary picture that harks back to the originals– i.e. Superman. Plus now time travel/converging casts Xmen DOFP)

Though I enjoyed Looper and it’s basic plot, I couldn’t help but think throughout that whole film how poorly it had been directed. The ‘surprises’ were given away too easily and the flow and style of the movie was terribly inconsistant, to the point where I suspected it had several directors, each doing different scenes! I’m very sorry to say this about anyone but I hope that Mr.Johnson isn’t let anywhere near Star Trek.

Great article Anthony, and love the Godfather part III inspired logo.

Did you try it out with a small version of the enterprise before going with the delta logo?
in any case love the logo and love the article.

Has anyone had the thought after whatching star trek (2009) that john harrison could be kirks brother (johnny) who seemed angry at the world and at starfleet who could be blamed for there fathers death just a thought?

My thoughts on JJ, if he is willing and is able to have a excellent script and movie ready for 2016, then I am all for him staying on to direct Star Trek XIII after he completes Star Wars Episode VII

As I really think think that the next trek film should coincide with the big anniversary. (hope he shoots in IMAX again for the next one as well)
If for some reason that can’t happen then I think that paramount/CBS should do something special for the fans to commerate the anniversary on the small screen then.

If they did that I would be ok with a 2017 release, over the prefered 2016 anniversary release.

Hmm…let’s see. The third movie. I think it’s high time for a reboot.

Star Trek lll….The search for another ridiculous re-do. How about making the tribbles the size of a T -rex and giving them magic blood?

I hear Shatner might be in the next Star Trek movie!!,, *sigh*,,if only,,

I would love to see Mr Shatner once more in another Trek movie,, yeh undo the crappy Kirk death,, but hes 82 years old, if the next trek takes another 4 years as of today to come out,,with a part for Mr Shatner, he would be 86, and if he misses that Trek,,another 4 year wait and hes going to be 90 !


One idea I keep coming back to is — what if we find out they shot the third installment of this trilogy while filming “Into Darkness”? This would be especially effective if the storyline of “3” immediately followed the events of STID.

It could be that Paramount, JJ and his team are waiting for all the premiers and openings and then — along about Weekend #2 into the North American release, we get this huge 50th Anniversary announcement that skyrockets STID into the heights of awesome box office performance.

Now that would be a great publicity stunt!

gee,, lots of movies were filmed “back to back”


NO! The new timeline is the BEST thing that could have happened to Star Trek. There is absolutely NO way to get back to the old timeline, because it’s outdated, worn out and dire. While TOS and TNG and most of the old movies are all-time classics, the visuals and technology depicted has not stood the test of time. We’ve got cellphones far ahead of TOS technology.

The new timeline solved all these problems. Now you can have fancy-looking, futuristic technology in OUR future but still got the classic characters.

Furthermore you’ve got endless dramatic opportunities, for they can completely redesign everything, come up with great combinations of stuff seen before and fresh elements. It’s the absolutely perfect playground for 20+ years of all new Star Trek… and it still acknowledges what came before as the old timeline is there foreever on DVD and BluRay and continues to exist as a parallel universe…

Please spare us with a Captain Worf series or any other lame spin-offs of outdated spin-offs… if going back to the 24th century, only with a freh new take in the NEW TIMELINE…

The only classic Trek era worth revisiting is ENT: Foundation of the Federation, Romulan War etc…because it’s the past of both timelines now.

ABRAMS: No. I would say it’s a possibility. We’re trying to figure out the next step. But it’s like anything: It all begins with the story.

‘Makes sense, but…

No, no, no! No more! Not this time, Mr. Abrams.

No more hesitation, no more discussions, no more “tricks”. I give you one message: I want you…

…to direct the third Star Trek installment.

If not, it’s all-out war: we go to the mattresses.


I’d like to see Abrams back, but another director could bring a different view. Who knows…I’d go for Chris Nolan, but I doubt he’ll convert over. Maybe a Sam Mendes or if you want a throwback film, a Tarintino. THAT would be a wild film.

@30: Not likely. They would have announced it before going into production for expository purposes. However, they MIGHT do Treks 3+4 back-to-back for the 50th anniversary. Now that would make sense. Two movies coming out in 2016, one in May and the sequel right for the anniversary in fall.

ugh ounce of hope pound of despair, was hoping we could get franks to direct the third one.

If he goes with another director, I hope JJ is thorough with his vetting process, and doesn’t just chose a director because of his track-record. Star Trek is- as he should know by now- a strong, but very delicate property that needs to be treated with surgical precision. What Star Trek needs now is a movie that focuses on the unknown wonders of exploration. Sure, phasers, and photon torpedoes are cool, yet the Enterprise is ‘a ship of exploration’, outfitted with defensive countermeasures. But what else has she got that’s cool? Let’s try, and focus on her other abilities, and do something she was designed to do- like go where no one has gone before. It doesn’t have to be cerebral to showcase the scientific curiosity that lies within us ALL.
While at the same time it can be fun, and enjoy the heartfelt drama, and moralistic equation that is the nucleus of everything Star Trek.

I’d like to see the third movie directed by JJ Abrams. I’d also like to see the movie out for 2016. I hope they do find a way to do both, but I’m not hopeful…

As much as I would love for Abrams to do the next one I would be disappointed if it meant a postponement and missing the 50th anniversary in 2016.

@ 34

Like your choices. Nolan, Mendes etc. Yes, Quentin Tarantino’s Star Trek would be wild. But seriously the man does know dialogue. And Star Trek could use a movie with great dialogue about ideas along with the great action.

Brad Bird is also a great choice. Duncan Jones and Neil Blomkamp (District 9) are also good choices to direct the next Star Trek movie.


Hilarious! Well done!

Don’t do another one if your just going to rehash old ideas….please.

Joss Whedon.

I want a 50th anniversary film. Sure Abrams COULD finish SW for summer 2015, then jump over to ST and hopefully get fall 2016. But that’s pushing it.

My top choice, and a bit of an unusual choice would be Seth MacFarlane – who’s a proven fan and understands what Roddenberry’s vision truly was. That or Brad Bird.

Here’s a Stupid Idea. Let’s get George Lucas to Direct Star Trek.
I Keed’s I Keed’s.

I would not mind a James Cameron or a Ridley Scott Directing Star Trek.

Aurore. Are you ok. You seem a little Tense.

Since Star Trek has clearly gone off the rails logic/storywise and has Shatner correctly put it, lacks soul, might as well just go for broke and make the third one a Star Trek/Star Wars crossover.

It would make stupid amounts of money, finally shut up all the hardcore fans on both sides on which side would win, and we can get all the whiz bang explodey boomedyboom action that seems to draw the mainstream crowds these days. Hell, while we’re at it, get Michael Bay to direct it.

“Aurore. Are you ok. You seem a little Tense.”

I am.

‘Got a problem with that ?


If what I have heard about the new movie is true, there is one thing I might not like. AT ALL.

However, Mr. Abrams is still the man who made me care about the Star Trek franchise again.

So, I will try to be as open-minded as a great man ; Ricardo Montalbán.