It's long been held that J.J. Abrams was on the Lucasfilm short list to direct the upcoming Star Wars films, and in a new interview with Empire Magazine in support of Star Trek Into Darkness, the filmmaker confirms that he was approached about the films "early on" and that he's since turned it down.
"There were the very early conversations and I quickly said that because of my loyalty to Star Trek, and also just being a fan, I wouldn't even want to be involved in the next version of those things," Abrams said. "I declined any involvement very early on. I'd rather be in the audience not knowing what was coming, rather than being involved in the minutiae of making them."
What loyalty is he talking about, specifically? He got into that, too.
"I'm committed to three [films]," the director told Empire. "That's the contract I signed. And as far as I know, everyone else is in the same situation. But there's obviously room for both Star Trek and Star Wars. We both have plenty of things to offer sci-fi. But I'm not saying any more that that! There are more than enough Star Wars stories around at the moment!"
Of course, there were some pretty strong rumblings that Abrams might be involved with Star Wars early on in the discussion, with his name appearing alongside other top-tier directors like Joss Whedon, Steven Spielberg and Brad Bird, all of whom have other obligations coming up as well. Bird and Spielberg have explicitly denied involvement with the project.
He added, "I'm a huge fan of Star Wars, [The Empire Strikes Back] and [Return of the Jedi], and the idea of the world continuing is exciting and will be amazing. Kathy Kennedy is a friend and there are no smarter producers. It's in great hands."