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Why J.J. Abrams is only directing one of the new 'Star Wars' movies — and regrets it

jj abrams x-wing
jj abrams x-wing

(Courtesy of Disney/Omaze)

It sounds like J.J. Abrams regrets not having a bigger role in the continuing "Star Wars" franchise.

"The Force Awakens" director will serve as executive producer on the next movie, "Episode VIII," but is passing the director's torch to Rian Johnson ("Looper"), who also penned the script.

That script is to blame for Abrams' regret, Greg Grunberg, an actor and Abrams' lifelong friend, told the Washington Post. "He read it and said something he never, ever says," Grunberg said. Apparently the script is "so good" Abrams wished he had written it.

"He may have said something one time on 'Lost,' with Damon [Lindelof], but I never hear him express regret like that," added Grunberg, who plays pilot Snap Wexley in "The Force Awakens."

So why did he hand it over in the first place?

A fan posed this question on Quora and user David Mullich, an instructor at the Los Angeles Film School, provided some reasons for why Abrams likely stepped away:

"There are several reasons why J.J. Abrams only agreed to do one 'Star Wars' film:

Director Joss Whedon has expressed complete exhaustion over handling two of Marvel's "Avengers" films, saying it "broke" him.

Abrams had previously turned down Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy's offer to launch the new "Star Wars" films at all.

"I said ‘No.’ I didn’t want to do a sequel," Abrams told Howard Stern on his radio show. "I’d done a 'Mission: Impossible' movie; I’d done 'Star Trek.' I didn’t wanna do another sequel — I’m sick of movies with numbers... As a fan, I’d rather just go to the theater and watch the movie.”

But after Kennedy did some clever convincing, Abrams was in.

He also told Entertainment Weekly that his wife warned him he would regret not directing the film.

Abrams confirmed to EW that he would also not return as the director for "Episode IX," (the entry following the Rian Johnson-directed film) saying, "No, I’m not going to direct 'Episode IX,' as much as I am deeply envious of anyone who gets to work with this group of people on the future movies."

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