J.J. Abrams on 'Star Wars' Plans: 'Honoring But Not Revering' Past

Austin Hargrave
J.J. Abrams

Speaking at the Produced By Conference, the "Episode VII" director says production will likely begin in London early next year and reveals what he'd like to see George Lucas tackle next.

J.J. Abrams says he will be moving to London at the end of the year for production on Star Wars: Episode VII, which is expected to begin early 2014.

"We are, most likely, if all goes as planned, going to be moving to London at the end of the year for the Star Wars movie," Abrams said Saturday at the Produced By Conference.

Abrams was light on details about the new Star Wars, set to be released in 2015 by Disney, but spoke about his approach to the saga.

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"It is so massive and so important to people," he said. "I think the key to moving forward on something like this is honoring but not revering what came before." The Bad Robot head also declined to comment on a question concerning the many Star Wars novels' relation to the upcoming film, which will be scripted by The Hunger Games: Catching Fire scribe Michael Arndt.

Last month, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy confirmed that Episode VII production would take place in the U.K., as with the saga's other films. The decision "really does make me insane," Abrams said.

The director has shot all his previous films in Los Angeles, even covering some of the cost personally, he explained, to shoot Star Trek: Into Darkness locally.

Abrams said the move to London would be quite an inconvenience for his wife and children.

"When you're 13 and 14, it's like, f--k that, I don't care what the movie is," he joked.

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Abrams also spoke about Star Wars creator George Lucas, who serves as a creative consultant on Episode VII, naming Lucas' American Graffiti as one of his favorite films.

"It was like, George vs. Hollywood," Abrams said of the director's tumultuous relationship with the industry. He also noted that Lucas has for several years expressed an interest in making smaller, more experimental films.

"I hope he finally does, because I would love to see what those look like," Abrams said.

Abrams' Produced By discussion, moderated by Django Unchained producer Reginald Hudlin, largely steered clear of Abrams' Star Wars plans. The director also spoke about his love for shooting on film, advice his parents gave him on the entertainment industry and the possibility of him working on a theater project someday.