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J.J. Abrams discusses if he would direct a DC Comics film

JJ Abrams
J.J. Abrams on Millenium Falcon set. Pic credit: Lucasfilm

J.J. Abrams may not be adding another franchise to his director’s belt just yet.

While the superstar writer/director is currently busy preparing a new version of Superman, and he’s finally addressing the chances that he would direct either this film or any other DC Comics franchise. 

Abrams and franchises

Abrams broke out in 2001, creating the ABC spy thriller Alias, which turned Jennifer Garner into a star. Three years later, he helped create the acclaimed Emmy-winning hit Lost, followed by the cult sci-fi series, Fringe. 

In movies, Abrams has been known for his work on franchises, starting with writing and directing 2006’s Mission Impossible III. He then rebooted the Star Trek franchise with the 2009 big-screen success and its 2013 sequel, Into Darkness. 

Of course, Abrams is best known now for reviving Star Wars, writing and directing 2015’s The Force Awakens and 2019’s Rise of Skywalker.

This has many excited for Abrams working with Ta-Nehisi Coates for a new take on Superman that could involve a Black Man of Steel. 

However, the idea Abrams may direct this movie seems unlikely to happen.

Abrams on franchise fatigue

Speaking to Collider, Abrams addressed the possibility of him taking on a DC Comics project, and his words indicate he may have finally had his fill of franchises. 

“Well, I’ll say that the opportunity to get to work on any pre-existing franchise is definitely a double-edged sword. And while I’m incredibly grateful and proud to have been involved in the projects, of course, all I see is what things could have been and what we might have done. The importance of it is not lost on me, as temporary custodians of any ideas, whether they pre-exist us or not, which is to say I think that even with an original idea, somehow I still don’t quite understand where that creative impulse comes from and how the experience of writing something really is yours. I feel like we’re all just channeling something that we’re trying to serve, as opposed to something that we are doing and that is our work.”

Abrams is used to a backlash from both Star Trek and Star Wars fans over some of his story ideas and might be thinking it’s best to step back from directing duties for a while.

A new direction

Zack Snyder wants to see a Black Superman in movies
Calvin Ellis, the Black Superman. Pic credit: DC Comics

While buzz grows on the “Black Superman” story (such as how it’s set on an alternate Earth in the 20th century), the word is that Warner Bros would prefer a black director rather than Abrams.

This doesn’t seem to bother Abrams as he indicated he would much rather focus on more original projects rather than ape an existing franchise. 

“I know that Hollywood is a place where it used to be that people would be inspired by something that they would see or an old film or a show or something and think, ‘Oh, here’s my response to that. Here’s a version of that that.’ It’s become a place where, more often than not, you see something and people get inspired by it and go, ‘Let’s redo that exact thing.’ I feel like, as someone who started writing in television and telling original stories on film and in TV, it is something that I really do miss. The few things that I’m working on now, as a writer, are original ideas. I just feel, as a director, I really would love to have my next projects be things that didn’t pre-exist me necessarily.”

Abrams isn’t giving up established properties yet. He is producing the upcoming HBO Max Justice League Dark series and creating Overlook, an original show based on Stephen King’s classic novel The Shining. 

However, it seems the next time Abrams steps into the director’s chair, it will be for an original idea of his own rather than trying to direct a DC Comics hero on the big screen.

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