Superman Producer JJ Abrams Gets Candid About Pros & Cons of DC Franchise Work

By Russ Milheim Updated:
JJ Abrams Superman

Many fans of pop culture know the name J.J. Abrams. In fact, it is likely to ring many bells. He is responsible for many projects that people love, from LOST to the Mission Impossible franchise, and more recently that of Star Wars.

While many fans may not have enjoyed his work with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, it's hard to deny that his work on Star Wars: The Force Awakens brought the franchise back to life in ways not seen for over a decade. Well, Abrams has moved on from Star Wars, setting his sights on something new.

Last year, it was reported that J.J. Abrams was working with Warner Bros. on many upcoming DC Shows including Justice League Dark. Then, earlier this year, it was reported that the famous producer was also working alongside to studio to reboot the Man of Steel himself, Superman. While none of that has come to fruition yet, it's only a matter of time before it all reaches the big (and small) screens.

With all the focus on producing these new DC Comics projects, could fans see J.J. Abrams helm one of its upcoming films?


JJ Abrams Superman

In an interview with Collider, J. J. Abrams was on hand to discuss his upcoming project, Lisey's Story on Apple TV+. Of course, one can't interview J.J. Abrams without inquiring about all the many rumored projects that the famous producer is involved with.

When asked about what excites him about tackling these new DC projects, Abrams answered with sly avoidance at the direct topic, saying that "work[ing] on any pre-existing franchise is definitely a double-edged sword:"

“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 also mentioned that working on pre-existing material is coveted, but that it "is no small honor or responsibility or obligation:"

“But I think being a temporary custodian of a project, for as long as you have it, is no small honor or responsibility or obligation. It blows my mind, of course, but you have to do the work. I think if you stay in a state of amazement at what it is that you're working on, it's hard to actually get anything done.”

In Abrams' career, to date, he has only directed one original film—2011's Super 8. Collider inquired about whether he planned or hoped to direct any of the upcoming DC Films that he is producing. Surprisingly, his hopes are more set on an original idea being his next directorial debut:

“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.’ 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.”


It's certainly hard to fault Abrams for leaning more toward directing his own original projects than that of existing IPs he produces. Especially after how the general reception of Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker went down, it's not a big surprise. It would honestly be more of a surprise if he did want to direct an upcoming DC film.

There's no doubt that seeing Abrams direct a DC superhero property would be neat, as he's done some really impressive things in his career. When it comes to his producing work for Warner Bros., it had been rumored that he might be the next to direct a superhero film. That superhero film turned out to be the rumored Superman reboot, in which Warner Bros. claimed it would be tone-deaf if they went ahead and had Abrams direct it.

Things can change in the blink of an eye, though, and with how secretive Abrams can be, it wouldn't be wise to completely discount the idea of the famous producer personally tackling a superhero IP down the line.

With how great he is at mystery and sci-fi, seeing him helm the upcoming Green Lantern Corps movie—or any future Green Lantern property—would be a sight to see. That is, if the movie ever actually ends up happening. At the very least, fans can rest assured that the show is actually showing some movement

- About The Author: Russ Milheim
Russ Milheim is the Industry Relations Coordinator at The Direct. On top of utilizing his expertise on the many corners of today’s entertainment to cover the latest news and theories, he establishes and maintains communication and relations between the outlet and the many studio and talent representatives.