James Franco travels back in time to save JFK in ‘11.22.63,’ the next series from J.J. Abrams & Stephen King

Posted in Television,Video by Scott Meisner on November 27th, 2015

J.J. Abrams and his production company Bad Robot (LostFringePerson of Interest) aren’t tipping toes into the world of subscription-based streaming; with 11.22.63, the ubiquitous storyteller is diving in head-first. Abrams’ latest TV series is coming to Hulu in 2016 and it’s based on Stephen King’s 2011 novel of the same name. King (Under the Dome) also serves as executive producer. Here’s the official logline, time travel included.

Hulu Original series 11.22.63 is a thriller in which high school English teacher Jake Epping travels back in time to prevent the assassination of President John F. Kennedy — but his mission is threatened by Lee Harvey Oswald, falling in love and the past itself, which doesn’t want to be changed.

Movie actor James Franco, best known for stoner comedies such as This is The End and Pineapple Express, takes a dramatic turn as lead character Jake Epping and the supporting cast includes Chris Cooper (The Bourne Identity), Josh Duhamel (Battle Creek), T.R. Knight (Grey’s Anatomy), Cherry Jones (24), Sarah Gadon, Lucy Fry, George MacKay, and Daniel Webber.

The series’ first teaser trailer rests above and packed inside the 30-second clip are more than enough tantalizing glimpses to appropriately whet your appetite. “I’m gonna tell you something that’s gonna seem crazy,” says an off-screen narrator. “If you go through there, it’s 1960.” Chills is the proper response.

Prepare for you next binge as 11.22.63 rolls out on Hulu on February 15, 2016. Happy President’s Day.

J.J. Abrams & ‘Infinity Blade’ developer collaborate on new video game ‘SPYJINX’

Posted in News,Technology by Scott Meisner on November 15th, 2015

Play video games? Dig the curious mind of director/producer J.J. Abrams? Well, here’s an excitingly fresh piece of news for you. Abrams (LOSTStar Wars)–who previously struck a deal with Valve–is teaming up with Infinity Blade developer ChAIR to produce a game called SPYJINX. Here’s what we know so far:

Powered by Unreal Engine 4, SPYJINX is a unique mix of action strategy gameplay, dynamic world building and RPG character development – all set in a thrilling, treacherous world of espionage.

As is tradition in the world of Bad Robot, juicy details surrounding the upcoming title are being closely guarded for now. SPYJINX is expected to roll out on PCs and mobile devices during its 2016 launch, and the plan is for the game to hit consoles sometime thereafter. Gamers are invited to sign up for the beta now to help the developers shape the game and work out the kinks.

Watch Abrams and ChAIR founder and creative director Donald Mustard discuss their new collaborative effort in the video hanging here. As more information spills around SPYJINX, you’ll know where to find it.

Doug Dorst & J.J. Abrams put the “S.” in “S.earch” with new promotional campaign for their mystery novel

Posted in Entertainment,Video by Scott Meisner on December 16th, 2014

The mysterious S. videos continue! Though, this clip is more straightforward than the last. Have you picked up a copy of Doug Dorst & J.J. Abrams’ novel S.? If not, now’s the time to jump in. In addition to briefly discussing the inspiration behind their book, in the video embedded above Dorst and Abrams explain that they’ve signed five copies and have hidden them in five different cities around the nation. They dare you to find one, read it, and then ditch it for someone else to discover (or keep it, that’s entirely up to you). Does this concept sound familiar? It should: D&A are borrowing the “Send Wonder” concept imagined by artist/magician Jamie D. Grant; he previously collaborated with Abrams’ Bad Robot and magic destination Theory 11 to create the Mystery Bottle. Grant’s “Send Wonder” campaign is all about spreading inspiration with the world through sharing and random discovery. Want to be one of the lucky five to score a signed copy of S.? Follow Dorst on Twitter where the author will be dropping clues to their whereabouts; first stop: NYC.

Up-and-coming director Chris Alender’s short film ‘Eye of the Storm’ catches J.J. Abrams’ attention

Posted in Movies,News,Short film,Video by Scott Meisner on December 11th, 2014

In 2008, J.J. Abrams put director Matt Reeves on the map with the shaky-cam monster movie Cloverfield; Reeves would go on to also direct the thriller Let Me In and this year’s excellent Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Abrams is looking to strike gold again by fostering new talent, according to Deadline. Enter Chris Alender, the founder of Soapbox Films, a production house that specializes in the making of music videos, commercials, and films. One of his films, namely Eye of the Storm, must have caught J.J.’s attention because Alender is now working hand-in-hand with the Star Wars director on an upcoming top secret project for Sony Pictures. Of course, as details slowly but surely spill out about the Abrams/Alender project you’ll hear it here.

But more on Alender’s short film. Eye of the Storm, embedded above for your viewing pleasure, is technically a music video for musician Ben Lovett whose song of the same name is featured throughout the clip. It wears an aesthetic that’s reminiscent of what you’d find in a Sin City movie, and yet it’s distinctive enough to be hailed as a success all on its own. Elements from science fiction and steampunk are fused together here to create a mini-adventure in the sky as a giant ship soars into the eye of a massive storm. There’s a mystical potion and a dragon, to boot. What Alender’s created here, essentially, is an exquisitely executed short film that leaves the viewer wanting more by the time you get to the end. Equally impressive is the effort put into making it a reality; after the break, check out a BTS video revealing practical effects used to manifest stunning results.

Abrams knows how to pick ’em. Cannot wait to see what Alender cooks up next. (Click here for more…)

Abrams reveals Episode VII’s X-Wing Starfighter in new fundraiser clip

Posted in Movies,Video by Scott Meisner on July 29th, 2014

Director J.J. Abrams is back to remind Star Wars fans that his UNICEF fundraiser “Force for Change” is still in effect. He shares that people from over 119 countries have participated so far and you can too at Omaze.com. [The chance to win a trip to the set and be in the movie is now over. The winner will be announced next month.] Now, as Abrams is spilling the details the camera in the clip above slowly pans out to reveal his version of the famed X-Wing Starfighter.

Star Wars Episode VII releases December 18, 2015.

J.J. Abrams shares his inspired “Mystery Box”

Posted in Design,Images,Video by Scott Meisner on March 1st, 2014

If you haven’t seen J.J. Abrams’ TED Talk from March 2007, stop what you’re doing and watch it now. In it, the prolific filmmaker talks about his “mystery box.” When he was young his grandfather Harry Kelvin would take him to a magic store in New York City called Lou Tannen’s Magic. One day his grandfather bought him Tannen’s Mystery Magic Box, a box embossed with a giant question mark filled with $50 worth of magic tricks for the low price of 15 bucks. To this day, Abrams’ mystery box remains sealed and it sits on a shelf in his office at his production company Bad Robot. He reveals his reasons behind not opening it and keeping it after all these years: it represents his grandfather–an important figure in his life–and the notion of infinite possibility.

“…It represents infinite possibility. It represents hope. It represents potential. And what I love about this box, and what I realize I sort of do in whatever it is that I do, is I find myself drawn to infinite possibility and that sense of potential. And I realize that mystery is the catalyst for imagination… I started to think that maybe there are times when mystery is more important than knowledge.”

Think about to some of Abrams’ most prominent creations. Lost was one giant mystery box full of potential and engrossing enigma. Did we ever really need to know what the Island was or even represented? In the end, no, we did not; Lost was about a group of plane crash survivors finding salvation and hope in each other. Look at Cloverfield; Abrams unleashed an exciting campaign leading up to that monster movie by not revealing what the mysterious otherworldly creature actually looked like. And then there’s the dearly departed Fringe; that show was literally about infinite possibilities and holding onto hope in the worst of times.

Seven years after introducing that box on stage at TED, Abrams is releasing his very own mystery box for you to put up on your shelf. Bad Robot teamed up with Theory 11, an online source for high-grade magic products, to create and produce a handcrafted, wooden Mystery Lockbox. It’s made of 100-year-old reclaimed wood, the lid is iron-branded with the Mystery Box emblem (it’s a giant question mark undoubtedly inspired by Tannen’s box), and each box sold is locked with an alphanumeric combination lock. The Lockbox includes a letterpressed note from J.J. Abrams enclosed in a kraft paper envelope stamped with a black wax seal. The main contents of the box are 12 decks of Mystery Box Playing Cards and each deck is individually wrapped in letterpressed kraft paper. Art direction for the box and deck of cards are by Abrams and Theory 11’s Jonathan Bayme.

The Lockbox with the letter and 12 decks of cards is on sale now for $149.95. The cards are also sold separately at $9.95 per deck. Bad Robot will donate $1 per deck purchased to 826 National, a non-profit dedicated to promoting creative writing in schools and workshops around the America.

Now the decision remains: do you open the box or do you remain inspired by the mystery inside like Abrams does with his? Abrams, in his letter to Mystery Box owners, puts it like this: “The choice to open the box, or not, is yours.” (Click here for more…)

J.J. Abrams & Alfonso Cuarón introduce NBC supernatural drama ‘Believe’

Posted in Television,Video by Scott Meisner on February 16th, 2014

Levitation, telekinesis, the ability to control nature, see the future… since she was born, Bo (Johnny Sequoyah) has had gifts she could neither fully understand nor control. But now that she is 10 years old, her powers have become stronger and the threat from malevolent forces that would use her abilities to control the world has grown more dangerous. With her life and future in jeopardy, Bo’s protector, Milton Winter (Delroy Lindo, The Chicago Code), turns to an unlikely source to keep her safe – Tate (Jake McLaughlin, Crash), a wrongfully imprisoned death row inmate who’s lost his will.

Tate and Bo begin an extraordinary journey, one in which trust must be earned. On the run and traveling from city to city, every place they stop and everyone they meet will be changed forever. But they’ll have to keep going to stay one step ahead of the sinister forces after Bo’s power… because it will take a miracle to keep them safe forever.

That’s how NBC sets up Believe, the latest series from J.J. Abrams–the creative mind behind LostFringe, and Person of Interest. Joining Abrams behind the scenes is Gravity director Alfonso Cuarón who serves as executive producer and director of the pilot episode.

Get acquainted with the cast and auspicious behind Believe in the clip embedded above. The exciting opening sequence brilliantly executed by Cuarón is on display and you’ll hear from him, Abrams, and some of the stars. “It, to me, was one of those great opening scenes that, when Alfonso described it, I had that sense of, ‘Wait a minute, I’m not changing the channel until I know exactly what’s going on,” gushes Abrams.

Believe premieres March 10. Watch a sneak-peek trailer after the break. (Click here for more…)

‘Star Wars: Episode VII’ gets its 2015 release date

Posted in Movies,News by Scott Meisner on November 10th, 2013

The next installment in the Star Wars saga will release into theatres on December 18, 2015.

“We’re very excited to share the official 2015 release date for Star Wars: Episode VII, where it will not only anchor the popular holiday filmgoing season but also ensure our extraordinary filmmaking team has the time needed to deliver a sensational picture,” said Alan Horn, chairman of The Walt Disney Studios.

Despite a change in the writing department, Episode VII is on track for its now solidified 2015 release. Two weeks ago Michael Arndt stepped away from the film and director J.J. Abrams and consultant Lawrence Kasdan took over the screenplay duties. Recently Abrams opened up about the switch-up.

“It became clear that given the time frame and given the process and the way the thing was going that working with Larry in this way was going to get us where we need to be and when we needed to be,” he told Deadline. “Working with Larry Kasdan, especially on aStar Wars movie is kind of unbeatable.” He added, “Working with Michael was a wonderful experience and I couldn’t be a bigger fan of his or adore him more. He’s a wonderful guy and was incredibly helpful in the process.”

Mark your calendars, people. We get to revisit that galaxy far, far away in two years time.

[Via Star Wars]

Preview ‘Revolution’ season 2 ahead of next week’s premiere (inside J.J. Abrams teases new supernatural element)

Posted in Television,Video by Scott Meisner on September 20th, 2013

NBC’s action-packed drama that poses the question “what would happen if the lights went out” returns for its second season next week so there’s no better time to catch a new preview of what’s to come in Revolution. At Comic Con we learned that the nukes set off at the end of season 1 do in fact go off and decimate large sections of North America. We also learned that the lights will turn off again, and this time for good. In the new preview clip embedded above you’ll hear from the cast and they spill s’more season 2 details: time jumps three months into the future, our main band of survivors makes camp at a fictional town in Texas named Willoughby, and you’ll also catch glimpses of Rachel’s encounter with her dad (played by Stephen Collins), Monroe’s fight club, and Neville’s beard. “It’s the same Revolution everybody knows and loves,” says Tracy Spiridakos (Charlie Matheson), “but with a different little kick to it.”

What might that kick be? Executive producer J.J. Abrams teases it in an interview posted after the break. When the power goes out for good early in the season, Abrams describes a “rip” in reality that occurs. In essence, a supernatural element is being introduced into Revolution this season and Abrams says it will provide the launchpad for more compelling storytelling and higher stakes. Get the tantalizing scoop after the break; below that is a season 1 recapper.

Revolution returns Wednesday, September 25 at 8PM on NBC. (Click here for more…)

Mystery, solved: J.J. Abrams’ “Stranger” teaser revealed to be a novel

Posted in Entertainment,News,Video by Scott Meisner on September 9th, 2013

On the 19th of August J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot tweeted a link to a mysterious YouTube clip titled “Stranger.” The beautifully scored video narrated by an older gentleman told a brief story about a man emerging from the sea under a blanket of stars. At the very end the words “Soon he will know” appeared and then quickly vanished. Now, we know.

Bad Robot’s Twitter account spilled the beans with part 2 of the “Stranger” video titled “S. (From J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst – Bad Robot Productions).” This clip (embedded after the break) resumes where the last left off (narrator and all) and introduces a typewriter and a murder mystery. So no, this is not a teaser for the next Star Wars movie or Abrams’ upcoming NBC drama Believe or his adaptation of Rod Serling’s The Stop Along the Way. These videos are promoting a new novel conceived and developed by Abrams and written by Doug Dorst.

S. is the chronicle of two readers finding each other in the margins of a book and enmeshing themselves in a deadly struggle between forces they don’t understand, and it is also Abrams and Dorst’s love letter to the written word.”

Abrams told EW: “I could not be more excited for people to get their hands on this book. It is difficult to describe because while it is a compelling mystery and love story, it is also much more than that. The work that everyone has done on S. is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Frankly, I’m amazed it was even possible to do this project at all.”

The book–which comes complete with newspaper clippings, a napkin with a hand-drawn map, and other special material to enhance the reading experience–hits store shelves October 29; preorder yours SoonYouWillKnow.com. For a peek at the layered synopsis, skip after the break. (Click here for more…)

J.J. Abrams & Jonathan Nolan set up ‘Westworld’ adaptation at HBO

Posted in News,Television by Scott Meisner on September 9th, 2013

Here is a TV project to keep a very close eye on. J.J. Abrams and Jonathan Nolan (the auspices behind CBS’ Person of Interest) are adapting Michael Crichton’s 1973 sci-fi thriller Westworld into a TV series for HBO. This marks the first foray into pay cable TV for Abrams’ Bad Robot production company. And like all things Bad Robot, the project is shrouded in mystery; this official logline will have to do for now: “Set in the amazing world dreamt up by Michael Crichton, Westworld is a dark odyssey about the dawn of artificial consciousness and the future of sin.” The movie, which starred Yul Brynner, Richard Benjamin, and James Brolin, took place at a Western-themed amusement park rampant with androids who appeared nearly indistinguishable from humans. Watch the trailer hereWestworld went on to spawn a sequel Futureworld (1976) and even a short-lived TV series Beyond Westworld.

Nolan is set to direct the pilot (HBO has already agreed to a pilot production commitment!) and he will pen the script with writer Lisa Joy (Burn Notice). Abrams, Nolan, Joy, Bryan Burk, and Jerry Weintraub will executive produce.

[Via Deadline]

Ready, set, theorize! J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot Productions teases mysterious new project

Posted in Entertainment,Video by Scott Meisner on August 24th, 2013

J.J. Abrams has another super-secret project up his sleeve. On the 13th of August his production company Bad Robot tweeted out a link to a mysterious video titled “Stranger” hosted on BR’s newly minted YouTube channel. The minute-and-seven-second video, like most everything Abrams does, is shrouded in a giant blanket of mystery and intrigue. With no press release to work off, viewers are forced to speculate and theorize.

Backed by a beautiful, piano-led score likely helmed by Abrams’ go-to composer Michael Giacchino, “Stranger” sets up a starry night scene where a long-haired man emerges from the sea. The visuals come to a screeching halt when a menacing looking man whose mouth is stitched up takes over the frame. A narrator recites the following words: “He arrived knowing nothing of himself. Who is he? Soon he will know. Because what begins at the water shall end there. And what ends there, shall once more begin. This is what happens: men become lost, men vanish, men are erased, and reborn.” At the very end, the words “Soon he will know” begin vanishing one by one.

After racking my brain on this one, a few theories surface to the top. First, as everyone well knows, J.J. is currently working on reigniting the Star Wars franchise with Episode VII; though a viral campaign to get the buzz going around this highly anticipated film would be exciting, I just don’t see it here. The starry sky is a subtle hint, but everything else just doesn’t make sense for it to be SW related.

Another project under J.J.’s belt includes the upcoming NBC supernatural drama Believe but again, this black-and-white visual simply doesn’t line up with that show’s pitch. However, a slight clue lingers here, too; Jake McLaughlin who plays wrongfully imprisoned death row inmate Tate on the show sports a shaggy mane of hair just like the man who comes from the sea. But Believe‘s main star is a little girl named Bo who has super powers that need protecting and this teaser sheds no light on that whatsoever.

Now it’s true that this may very well be an extremely early tease for The Stop Along the Way, Rod Serling’s final screenplay whose rights were recently sold to Bad Robot. Little is known about the project initially imagined by the Twilight Zone creator so it’s difficult to read into this any further.

I’ve saved the most believable theory for last. You may or may not know this, but Abrams is getting in on the books business. That’s right–he conceived and developed a story written by award-winning author Doug Dorst (Alive in Necropolis). And get this–the name of the novel is S. As in “Stranger,” as in “Soon he will know.” Now, read the novel’s synopsis:

At the core of this multilayered literary puzzle of love and adventure is a book of mysterious provenance. In the margins, another tale unfolds—through the hand-scribbled notes, questions, and confrontations of two readers. Between the pages, online, and in the real world, you’ll find evidence of their interaction, ephemera that bring this tale vividly to life.

S. is being released by Mulholland Books/Little, Brown and Company on October 29, 2013 and according to a press release. “Abram’ production company, Bad Robot, will be promoting the book leading up to and at publication time.” The video titled “Stranger” could easily be the start of a marketing campaign for this book. The synopsis hints that the story will expand its tale across various forms of media including the Internet. Until further evidence reveals itself, I think we having a winning theory here. It’s perfect, really. Viewers are clamoring to the idea that this video must be hyping a film or TV series when in reality it’s introducing Bad Robot fans to an entirely different form of entertainment: books!

Share your theories in the comment section below as we await the next “Stranger” tease that surely must be imminent.

J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot acquires the rights to Rod Serling’s screenplay ‘The Stop Along the Way’

Posted in News,Television by Scott Meisner on June 8th, 2013

J.J. Abrams and his Bad Robot production company just secured the rights to Rod Serling’s final screenplay The Stop Along the Way. Serling is most famous for creating and hosting The Twilight Zone in the ’60s; he also wrote many screenplays and some of his works include Planet of the Apes and Requiem for a Heavyweight. Like all things Bad Robot, plot details are non-existant this early in the stage. In Serling’s final interview before his passing in 1975 he mentioned the project saying, “I just wrote The Stop Along the Way, which is, I think, a lovely script.” Abrams’ Warner Bros. TV-based Bad Robot plans to develop the script into an event limited series, according to Deadline. As the project gets shopped around to various networks, it is one to keep a close eye on and you can check back here for any and all pertinent updates. Abrams (the man behind one of the most mysterious television series Lost) and Serling (the visionary who thought up The Twilight Zone and all its intrigue) together–one can only imagine the possibilities of a such an exciting partnership.

J.J. Abrams presents ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’ deleted scene featuring Benedict Cumberbatch

Posted in Hilarity,Movies,Video by Scott Meisner on May 25th, 2013

Don’t worry, no spoilers here… This week director J.J. Abrams visited Conan and presented a short but definitely sweet deleted scene from his Star Trek sequel Into Darkness. If you’ve seen the movie, you know there’s a scene where a shirtless James T. Kirk is found in bed with two half-naked aliens. To balance it out, Abrams had envisioned a scene where moviegoers would also get to see the film’s antagonist played by Benedict Cumberbatch without his shirt on. In this case, it’s a fleeting moody shower sequence. Cumberbatch’s John Harrison stands in what Abrams calls “the shower of evil.” Ultimately it was decided that this would not make the final cut and you can hear why straight from the director’s mouth in the clip embedded above. Also discussed is the “revealing,” much talked about scene involving star Alice Eve stripping to her bra and underwear. Yum.

J.J. Abrams and Valve’s Gabe Newell strike a deal to produce movies and games based on their respective projects [Update: video]

Posted in Movies,News,Technology,Video by Scott Meisner on February 10th, 2013

At this year’s D.I.C.E. summit (Design, Innovate, Communicate, Entertain), co-founder of game developer Valve conversed with filmmaker J.J. Abrams about collaborating on future projects. Gamers and sci-fi fanatics alike, perk up. Newell and Abrams have expressed their interest in bringing some of Valve’s most popular titles–Half-Life and Portal, specifically–to the big screen. “We’re going to try and figure out if we can make a Half-Life movie or a Portal movie together,” said Newell. Additionally, Abrams said that he’d be interesting in working with Valve to create video games inspired by Bad Robot films. Apparently this partnership has been in the making for awhile. “We sort of reached the point where we decided that we needed to do more than talk,” Newell admitted. Though details beyond these are sparse, this is something to definitely be excited about and when more comes through the pipeline you’ll know.

Update: The exciting announcement laid out above came at the very end of a rich 20-minute conversation during which the Bad Robot and Valve founders discussed storytelling methods in movies and video games. At first the two make friendly jabs at each other’s work but quickly the back-and-forth evolves into a stimulating discussion about the importance of the relationship between the viewer/player and the on-screen experience. Watch the full clip courtesy of D.I.C.E. after the break.

[Via Engadget; Joystiq] (Click here for more…)

FOX orders futuristic drama from J.H. Wyman & J.J. Abrams [Update: Another Abrams pilot a-go at NBC]

Posted in News,Television by Scott Meisner on January 25th, 2013

With Fringe in his rearview mirror, showrunner and sometimes writer and director J.H. Wyman has a new drama at FOX to work on. Today FOX ordered to pilot an hourlong drama from Wyman and J.J. Abrams, the same auspices that brought us Walter Bishop and the rest of the Fringe family. The untitled project is being produced by Abrams’ production company Bad Robot in collaboration with Warner Bros. TV. It’s being described as “an action-packed buddy cop show set in a near future when all LAPD officers are partnered with highly evolved humanlike androids.” Yeah, count me in. Wyman is writing the script and serving as executive producer, a title he shares with Abrams, Bryan Burk, and Kathy Lingg. After the script is locked in and casting choices are made, the pilot will be made and if all goes well we’ll have another Abrams/Wyman futuristic drama on the air in the fall.

Update: Mere moments after wrapping this post news broke that another pilot headlined by J.J. Abrams was ordered by NBC. (After landing the Star Wars directing gig and two pilots at two of the major broadcast networks, somebody is having the best week ever.) This project also falls under the Bad Robot/Warner Bros. TV banners and Abrams is working closely with Alfonso Cuarón (director of Harry Potter and the Prison of Azkaban). It’s working title is Believe and the script is currently being penned by Cuarón and Mark Friedman (Home of the BraveThe Forgotten). Believe is about “the unlikely relationship between a young girl in possession of a great gift/powers — which will come into their own in seven years — and a man sprung from prison who has been tasked with protecting her from the evil elements that hunt her power.” Abrams, Cuarón, Friedman, and Bryan Burk are executive producing. Cuarón is on tap to direct.

J.J. Abrams will direct ‘Star Wars: Episode VII’

Posted in Movies,News by Scott Meisner on January 24th, 2013

The Force is strong with this one. Today news spread like wildfire that J.J. Abrams–the same man who resurrected Star Trek for the big screen–will do the same for the other massively popular set-in-space franchise Star Wars. The Wrap broke it first.

This fall George Lucas sold his Lucasfilms to Disney for $4 billion and his partner Kathleen Kennedy signed on to ensure the making of a new Star Wars movie. Shortly thereafter Michael Arndt (Little Miss SunshineToy Story 3) agreed to pen the script and now the immense project has a star director in Abrams. Star Wars: Episode VII aims for a 2015 release.

Neither Abrams nor Disney has commented on the story yet. What’s interesting, however, is that just a couple months ago Abrams told Entertainment Weekly that he wasn’t interested in taking on Lucas’ lucrative franchise. He admitted that he had “original stuff” he was hoping to do next. He went on to say how much Star Wars influenced him at a young age and that it ignited his passion for visually epic storytelling. “As a kid I was always a fan of special effects,” he said. “Watching movies I was constantly trying to figure out how they did it, whatever the effect was. Star Wars was the first movie that blew my mind in that way; it didn’t matter how they did any of it because it was all so overwhelmingly and entirely great. It was funny and romantic and scary and compelling and the visual effects just served the characters and story. It galvanized for me; not for what was exciting about how movies were made, but rather for what movies were capable of.”

In a twopart interview with Hero Complex conducted in 2009, Abrams talked about the challenge of reimagining Star Trek in a post-George Lucas Star Wars world. “I’m just a fan of Star Wars,” he said. “As a kid, Star Wars was much more my thing than Star Trek was. If you look at the last three Star Wars films and what technology allowed them to do, they covered so much terrain in terms of design, locations, characters, aliens, ships — so much of the spectacle has been done and it seems like every aspect has been covered, whether it’s geography or design of culture or weather system or character or ship type. Everything has been tapped in those movies. The challenge of doing Star Trek — despite the fact that it existed before Star Wars — is that we are clearly in the shadow of what George Lucas has done.”

It is definitely going to be interesting to see exactly how J.J. Abrams plans to bring Star Wars back into the fold compared to the way he did it with Star Trek. He’s a powerful player in the sci-fi arena, and personally I have no doubt he’ll get it right. What say you?

Update (1/25): Disney has made the news official in a press release. Check out some choice quotes from Kathleen Kennedy, George Lucas, and J.J. Abrams after the break. (Click here for more…)

TCA 13: J.J. Abrams and Eric Kripke promise a bigger, better, more surprising ‘Revolution’ this spring (new trailer inside)

Posted in News,Television,Video by Scott Meisner on January 6th, 2013

Revolution is on break until March and executive producers J.J. Abrams and Eric Kripke accept the extended with a positive attitude and they think viewers should as well. “When we were doing Lost, that [scheduling] helped us enormously,” Abrams said. “So when the idea came up for Revolution I was really relieved. I thought, and still think, that it will get us to a place where it will be the best possible way for the viewer to watch the show.” Added Kripke: “The little break has afforded us the ability to take a breath, look at what we’ve done, really analyze it, and make adjustments. It also supplied us a natural break point between the season’s first half and second half, and the second half sort of lives as its own continuous piece.” While Kripke maintained that “we learned that we did a lot of things right,” he also admitted that “the pace of the shocking surprises were a little too slow.” So what can viewers expect next?  The “second [half will be] bigger, better, more exciting and [with] more revelations–at the same time maintaining the format.” The shock factor will increase as well.

What else? When Revolution returns this spring, the action will continue “exactly” where we left off. “Giving [Monroe] power was more about making him an unstoppable force,” said Kripke. “We start to deliver on the promise of the title. The revolution begins.” Kripke fed the questions, “Can [the Matheson family] stick together in the face of these overwhelming odds and danger? And can you maintain your soul when you’re a warrior?”

Kripke went on to say that he’s definitely planning ahead for upcoming seasons of the show, but they’re at the “cocktail napkin sketches” state at the moment. “Because [the world is] so expansive, there’s no end to the stories we can tell,” he said.

Revolution returns March 25. Get a glimpse of what’s to come in a new trailer after the break. (Click here for more…)

J.J. Abrams teases ‘Star Trek’ sequel with Conan

Posted in Movies,Television,Video by Scott Meisner on October 5th, 2012

Director J.J. Abrams sat down with Conan O’Brien this week and during their interview Abrams–against the studios wishes–shared with the audience a clip from the upcoming Star Trek sequel. And it has a name now, by the way; it’s Star Trek Into Darkness.

Get this: the clip is only three frames long. After you watch it unfold at the speed of light in the video above, jump after the break for a better look at what you think you’ve seen. Conan correctly predicted that the Internet would freeze frame the very first look at Zachary Quinto as Spock in a volcano. There really isn’t much that can be gleaned from this, but at least it’s something.

Star Trek Into Darkness releases May 17, 2013. (Click here for more…)

2012 Upfronts: NBC orders 12 new series for next season

Posted in News,Television,Video by Scott Meisner on May 13th, 2012

Today NBC kicked off the 2012 Upfronts, an annual event where the big four networks present their upcoming slate of new programming to advertisers and the press. The Peacock unveiled 12 new series coming to the network next season; seven comedies and five dramas. Half will premiere this fall, and the others will wait for midseason. Jump after the break to get more information about all of the new shows including synopses, cast and creator/executive producer listings, and clips.

Also posted after the break is NBC’s 2012-13 programming schedule. The three most significant changes to the schedule include Whitney and Community moving to Friday nights paired with Grimm and Dateline NBC; The Voice gets a second cycle in the fall; and Smash is being held again for midseason.

NBC entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt explained Community‘s move to Friday: “I know that most people in our industry think Friday is a graveyard but we don’t really believe that. If you don’t build it they won’t come. We got some traction with Grimm, it’s the No. 1 18-49 on Fridays. We thought if we have a base there, let’s see if we can give Grimm a lead-in with these shows that actually have fan bases–including Whitney.” … He added, “[Community] has its faithful audience and they will follow it to the ends of the Earth. And I really wanted to do something to invigorate Friday because we love Grimm. So I thought, let’s move a show where the audience will move with it. I actually look at the positive side of it, although no good deed goes unpunished.”

While The Office and Parks and Recreation were picked up and given full 22-episode full season orders, other comedies like 30 Rock, Community, and Up All Night were handed smaller 13-episode orders; and this has led to speculation about whether or not NBC plans to phase these shows out sooner rather than later. Greenblatt addressed this: “[The Thursday night comedies] have a really strong following [but] they don’t have a large enough audience. They’re still shows that mean something to this network…I think on the Thursday night shows, ‘broad’ is synonymous with ratings…we’re always trying to be broader.” … He added, “a 13-episode order does not mean a death knell to the show.” So fret not, my friends. (5/14 update: It has been confirmed that the upcoming seventh season of 30 Rock will be its last.)

On why the network is saving Smash for midseason, Greenblatt wants the second season to air uninterrupted with not a single hiatus, like FOX started doing with 24 by premiering it in January instead of September. The plan is for the musical drama to produce 15-18 episodes every season as opposed to the standard 22. Also, the network wants accomodate new showrunner Josh Safran (Gossip Girl). Explains NBC’s Jennifer Salke: “New showrunner Josh Safran is coming in–he’s awesome. And we wanted him to get a chance to own [it] and get in there and have an ownership stake in the show — not just put a gun to his head and [tell him], ‘You gotta get going!’ So we wanted him to be able to stand back and have a real creative discussion about what he wants the season to be and be a big part of that.” (Click here for more…)