– by Joseph Jammer Medina

Last week, following the firing of Colin Trevorrow from Star Wars: Episode 9, it was revealed that J.J. Abrams would be taking the helm for the closing chapter of this new trilogy. Of course, this was met with both praise and ridicule from fans. Some, who loved Star Wars: The Force Awakens, saw it as another assurance that the final film would be another solid entry, and others who saw The Force Awakens as a retreated feared this would be a retread of Return of the Jedi as a result.

Though while fans can argue back and forth about whether or not his joining the film is a good thing, there is at least one person to whom this is awful news according to THR: Paramount CEO Jim Gianopulos. For those who don’t know, Paramount is Abrams’ “home studio,” where is he contracted to do the majority of his projects. In his 11 years there, he’s managed to direct two Star Trek films and Super 8. Additionally, he’s produced more than a handful of films with Mission: Impossible 3, 4 and 5, the Star Trek films, both Cloverfield films, and that’s not even to mention the upcoming Cloverfield movie next year.

The previous CEO of Paramount, Brad Grey, was supposedly upset when Abrams took on the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that was Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and when the film was done, they set to work renegotiating his next film. Sadly, it wasn’t meant to be. As stated above, Abrams has since committed himself to Star Wars: Episode 9.

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This puts the studio in an annoying position. They obviously want to get as much out of Abrams as possible while they have him under contract, and with it expiring in 2018, the making of Star Wars will take up the rest of Abrams’ time until 2019. However, in trying to enforce it too aggressively, they run the risk of alienating Abrams (who they want to renew his contract), and making enemies out of Disney, Lucasfilm, and Steven Spielberg.

From the sound of it, they spend somewhere neighborhood of $10 million in overhead and development costs, and some of that will be paid for by Disney, but it’s not clear if they’ll be paying for all of it (which, in this writer’s opinion, they should). It’s not a perfect solution, but given the market value of Abrams, and how much he may bring in for Paramount down the line, it’s an understandable move.

“You might not put him in the pantheon [alongside Spielberg],” one studio insider told the outlet, “but he’s a writer, producer and director. There aren’t too many of those guys. You can’t be an asshole and say no. You do the right thing, and hopefully people repay that.”

It’s not a fun position to be in, but such is the reality of Hollywood and studio politics.

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    Disney should’ve used that Paramount development payback money to coerce Rian Johnson into taking the Episode IX job.

  • Moby85

    As someone in business myself I understand why that would annoy Paramount. As Jammer said, the best move would be for DIsney to pay all his “overhead” just like it was the loan of a soccer player. Or for a looser analogy, How Sony pays for Marvel’s expenses to “rent” Spiderman for the MCU.

    This still leaves Paramount without JJ’s services. HOWEVER, there is no mention of JJ dodging out on negotiations for a particular film. And this really only sets JJ back 1.5-2 years in his work with Paramount.

    A third Star Wars trilogy may not come for at least 5 years. JJ will have plenty of time to return to Paramount.

    • Kindofabigdeal

      I read that Disney paid seven figures to Paramount for him to do Episode 9.

      • Moby85

        Fair enough. He’s a proven commodity that earned them big bucks, good critical reviews, and he tows the company line. In other words, the ideal Lucasfilm director these days.

  • Victor Roa

    That’s the most high school antic I have seen. JJ plays nice with everyone it’s not like he’s out right shitting on Paramount. They should learn to keep cool because even if it’s 2 years, just focus on not fucking up Transformers into the Dark Universe.

  • axebox

    Paramount passes on a project JJ developed, then gets upset JJ took another gig that just so happens to be Star Wars?

  • Saranac

    He can multitask – sure his focus will be on Star Wars, but he could still write and produce other projects. And if they ever decide to do another Indiana film then they won’t want bad blood.

  • ExarKun777

    Please keep him with you Paramount, pleeeeeeease. Don’t let him back to Star Wars.

Joseph Jammer Medina is an author, podcaster, and editor-in-chief of LRM. A graduate of Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Television, Jammer's always had a craving for stories. From movies, television, and web content to books, anime, and manga, he's always been something of a story junkie.