Star Wars is one of the biggest franchises in the movie industry today, so when J.J. Abrams directed the seventh installment of the epic space opera series, many thought the filmmaker will see the rest of the series through. Surprisingly though, the 49-year-old director revealed in a recent interview that it's highly unlikely for him to direct any future Star Wars film.
Speaking to Fortune at South by Southwest 2016, the director explained how his habit of not settling in one place is the reason for his staying further behind the scenes.
Abrams told Fortune:
It was a wonderful way to visit a place that meant so much to me and obviously so many. I knew that if it worked, it was the perfect time to step down – and if it didn't, no one would want me to do it anyway.
Currently, Abrams is acting as executive producer for Star Wars Episodes VIII and IX.
As for his take on Rian Johnson helming the next Star Wars films, Abrams sounded pretty excited:
I'm very happy to be where I am. Rian Johnson [who is currently directing Episode Eight] is brilliant and needs no help from me. As executive producer, I've been collaborating with them, but they are obviously doing all of the heavy lifting and it's very exciting to see what's going on.
Abrams is also executive producing HBO's reboot of the sci-fi series, Westworld, a passion project which could also be one of the reasons why the filmmaker decided to step back from the director's chair in Star Wars.
Westworldis one of those things I've wanted to work on for so long. I had a meeting probably 21 years ago with Michael Crichton [who wrote and directed the 1973 original film] about doing this. And it's taken a long time to get this going.
Westworld's trailer was released at SXSW 2016, but HBO still has no premiere date for the series.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens has already raked in $2 billion USD at the worldwide box office. With the movie's DVD/Blu-Ray and digital release coming soon, that number will only continue to become bigger.
We have yet to see whether Rian Johnson will be able to please audiences and critics and top the box office records of The Force Awakens. The difference between the two directors is already apparent when it comes to secrecy. Actress Daisy Ridley also stated how Johnson is "cheekier" than Abrams.
It's too early to tell, but based on leaked photos and videos from the set of Star Wars: Episode VIII in Croatia, production design appears to be on point.
Star Wars: Episode VIII is slated for release on December 15, 2017.