JJ Abrams discusses differences between directing ‘Star Trek’ and ‘Star Wars’

Director adamant films will feel different aesthetically

JJ Abrams has compared and contrasted his approach on his two forthcoming sci-fi blockbusters Star Trek and Star Wars.

Abrams, the creator of TV shows like Lost and Alias, successfully rebooted the Star Trek franchise in 2009 and has also directed the highly-anticipated sequel, Star Trek Into Darkness, which opens in UK cinemas next month (May). In January of this year, meanwhile, he was announced as director of the new Star Wars movie, which Disney has slated for release in 2015.

Speaking to Total Film, Abrams said: “The worlds are vastly different. Honestly, that was why I passed on Star Wars to begin with. I couldn’t imagine doing both. But when I said that my loyalty was to Star Trek I was literally working on finishing this cut.

“I couldn’t even entertain another thought. It was like being on the most beautiful beach in the world and someone saying, ‘There’s this amazing mountain over here. Come take a look,'” he added. “I couldn’t balance the two, so I passed on Star Wars.

After being convinced to take charge of the project, however, Abrams went on to say of his vision for the two films: “As with anything, because these are very different worlds, they shouldn’t feel the same aesthetically. They can’t. You’re right. But again, I don’t apply aesthetics first and fit a movie into that aesthetic. If I had come into Star Trek with those eyes, I would probably have been paralysed.

“The advantage here is that we still have George Lucas with us to go to and ask questions and get his feedback on things, which I certainly will do,” he continued. “With Star Trek it was harder because I wasn’t a Star Trek fan; I didn’t have the same emotional feeling, and I didn’t have Gene Roddenberry to go to. But I came to understand the world of Star Trek, and I appreciated what fans felt and believed about this universe and this franchise.”

Earlier this month, the first clip from Star Trek Into Darkness appeared online. The nail-biting teaser finds Zachary Quinto’s Spock in a sticky situation that is about to reach boiling point. This hands Captain Kirk, played by Chris Pine, an unenviable dilemma – scroll down and click ‘play’ to watch it.

The clip also features glimpses of Simon Pegg’s Scotty, John Cho’s Hikaru and Zoe Saldana’s Nyota. However, there is no sign of the film’s mysterious villain, who is played by Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch. Star Trek Into Darkness arrives in UK cinemas on May 9.