5 little-known facts about Star Wars director J.J. Abrams

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 25: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Filmmaker J.J. Abrams visits Entertainment Weekly at SiriusXM Studios to discuss “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” on November 25, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 25: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Filmmaker J.J. Abrams visits Entertainment Weekly at SiriusXM Studios to discuss “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” on November 25, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images) /

Star Wars fans know J.J. Abrams as the mind behind The Force Awakens and The Rise of Skywalker, the two films that opened and closed the sequel trilogy. Before his work with Star Wars, Abrams was the creative force behind several hit television series such as Alias, LOST, and Felicity. He made his directorial debut with Mission Impossible: III and went on to direct Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness before taking on The Force Awakens.

Abrams is married to public relations executive Katie McGrath, and the two have three children. Abrams always has a variety of creative projects going on, and he’s always trying out new things. Below are five facts about the multi-faceted writer, director, and producer.

1. Abrams’ love letter to the written word

In a world in which people can easily read digital books conveniently on a mobile device, computer, or dedicated ebook reader, Abrams and author Doug Dorst wanted to create something that could really only work well as a physical book. Thus, S., a story-within-a-story novel, was written. Abrams came up with the idea for a novel that told a story between two characters in the margins through notes and annotations between the two characters over a long period of time. Doug Dorst took the concept and first wrote Ship of Theseus, a full-length novel about a mysterious man who doesn’t know who he is and is taken by a ship on a suspenseful adventure.

The book about this mysterious man known as “S” is written by fictional author V.M Straka, and the book looks and feels like an old library book. What sets the novel apart, however, is that the margins tell a story through annotations by two young college students named Eric and Jen, who have never met, but slowly develop a relationship through their exchanging of notes in the book, while the two are also caught up in a dangerous plot concerning the author of the book, V.M. Straka. The book is a unique reading experience that feels very much like an Abrams production.

2. Spider-Man comic with son Henry

In 2020, Abrams and his oldest son Henry joined together to give a uniquely Abrams-esque take on the story of Spider-Man. The story begins with Peter Parker’s wife Mary Jane dying at the hands of a monstrous villain named Cadaverous and skips forward several years to Parker’s son Ben as a teenager.

Peter, disillusioned and broken over Mary Jane’s death, retired as Spider-Man and, it would seem, as a father. When Ben discovers that he’s inherited his father’s spider powers, he learns the truth of who his father once was and takes up the mantle of Spider-Man just as Cadaverous strikes again. It’s a heartbreaking story that’s somehow filled with hope at the same time, and it’s a Spider-Man story that feels like you would expect an Abrams story to feel. Despite negative reviews, it’s an interesting comic worth checking out.

3. Script for Superman: Flyby

While Abrams was recently announced as a producer for a new Superman film, it’s not the first time Abrams took a crack at a Superman story. In 2002, on the heels of the success of his TV shows Felicity and Alias, Abrams was hired to write a Superman script in an attempt to bring the character back to the big screen after the disappointing Superman IV: The Quest for Peace.

The script, referred to as Superman: Flyby, was never developed into a film, and Warner Bros. decided to make Superman Returns instead. But Abrams’ script is a fun look at the kind of storytelling that would make Abrams a major player in Hollywood. The script, which was intended to be the first of a trilogy, reinvented some of the Superman mythology, making Kalel of Krypton a sort of “chosen one” himself meant to return to his homeworld of Krypton as ruler someday. You can experience Abrams’ vision for Superman yourself by reading the script here.

4. Abrams, music composer

Today, Abrams is known as a director and producer for major Hollywood blockbusters, but his first job in Hollywood had nothing to do with directing or producing. In 1982, at the age of 16, Abrams was hired to compose the music for Don Dohler’s horror film Nightbeast. While Abrams went on to focus on the story side of film and television, he did compose the opening theme music for many of his television series, such as Felicity, Alias, and LOST.

5. An 8 mm opportunity

Abrams’ 2011 film Super 8 was produced by Abrams and Steven Spielberg and featured a group of kids making their own 8 mm film when they come upon an alien invasion. It was the first collaboration between Abrams and Spielberg, but Abrams shared an interesting story on the Nerdist podcast about getting a call from Kathleen Kennedy (the current president of Lucasfilm) when he was 16 to repair some of Spielberg’s 8 mm films he made when he was a kid. Abrams and Matt Reeves were part of an 8 mm film fest that was reported by the LA Times, which is how Spielberg heard about them. The two repaired Spielberg’s films, and, of course, Abrams and Spielberg went on to produce Super 8 several years later.

Related Story. 5 little-known facts about Natalie Portman in Star Wars. light

For more facts, follow the Star Wars Actors and Directors category on Dork Side of the Force!