Paramount Is Purportedly None Too Pleased With J.J. Abrams Helming Star Wars: Episode IX

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Given the chance, few filmmakers would turn down the dream of one day directing a Star Wars movie, and fewer still would refuse that offer twice.

And yet, The Force Awakens helmer J.J. Abrams found himself in that exact position earlier this month. With Colin Trevorrow off Star Wars: Episode IX entirely, it didn’t take long before Lucasfilm came calling. The vocation? An opportunity to journey back to that galaxy far, far away and essentially close the circle in this current Star Wars trilogy. Abrams accepted, and the rest is history.

But as The Hollywood Reporter reveals, Paramount and CEO Jim Gianopulos were none too pleased with the decision. Since his work on Mission: Impossible 3, J.J. Abrams had struck a deal with Paramount that resulted in such lucrative blockbusters as Super 8 and a pair of rebooted Star Trek movies. Said to worth $10 million a year when accounting for overheads and development, his current agreement runs through until the summer of 2018, and THR notes that Abrams still owes Paramount a movie.

Gianopulos, on the other hand, was said to be unhappy about the sudden arrangement between J.J. Abrams and Lucasfilm, but accommodated the move nonetheless. One source close to THR describes Abrams as “operating a machinery, an enterprise.” And if Paramount refused to accommodate Abrams, another studio would have swooped in “in a New York minute.”

Exactly how this saga unfolds is up for question at this stage, but all signs currently point to Paramount brokering a new deal with Abrams – not unlike those plans that were drawn up circa 2013, when Justin Lin was brought on board to oversee development on Star Trek Beyond in the director’s absence.

One studio insider fell down on the side of J.J. Abrams, believing that although he’s not quite in the same pantheon as Spielberg – their words, not ours – Abrams is “a writer, producer and director. [And] there aren’t too many of those guys.”

The most pressing issue for J.J. at the moment is the Star Wars: Episode IX script, which he’ll co-write with Chis Terrio of Justice League fame. Lucasfilm has made the situation somewhat easier by delaying the film’s release until December 2019; however, Abrams still has that $10 million obligation to Paramount.

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