In a new interview with Empire magazine, J.J. Abrams confirmed that he won't be helming "Episode 7" of the "Star Wars" franchise, in part because of his loyalty to "Star Trek," the series' chief rival for the hearts of geekdom.
I guess the franchises could go up against each other, but I'm not thinking that far ahead! I'm a huge fan of' "Star Wars," "Empire" and "Jedi," and the idea of the world continuing is exciting and will be amazing.
Abrams explained that while he admired friend and "Star Wars" producer Kathleen Kennedy, he turned down any role in the new films.
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. 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.
A longtime "Star Wars" fanboy, Abrams had been open about his reluctance to take on the material, telling Hollywood Life in November that the job just wasn't for him:
Look, Star Wars is one of my favorite movies of all time. I frankly feel that – I almost feel that, in a weird way, the opportunity for whomever it is to direct that movie, it comes with the burden of being that kind of iconic movie and series. I was never a big Star Trek fan growing up, so for me, working on Star Trek didn’t have any of that, you know, almost fatal sacrilege, and so, I am looking forward more then anyone to the next iterations of Star Wars, but I believe I will be going as a paying moviegoer!