Now that Star Wars: The Force Awakens is opening in wide release tomorrow and generally pulling in positive reviews, J.J. Abrams can exhale as he reaches the end of his press tour and perpetual state of terror. Given the backlash over his last film in a storied space franchise, Star Trek Into Darkness, the guy has probably been staring at his ceiling for a solid eight hours every night praying that the nerds love The Force Awakens and that Damon Lindelof didn’t somehow screw this up for him again.
Perhaps riding a wave of goodwill, Abrams is nevertheless taking the opportunity to make sure everyone knows Into Darkness wasn’t actually that bad. In a sprawling interview with BuzzFeed, the director did admit that the film lacked “a fundamental argument” and, “in a weird way, it was a little bit of a collection of scenes that were written by my friends—brilliantly talented writers—who I somehow misled in trying to do certain things.” That led to him “tap-dancing” after the film had started shooting, trying to make its apparently problematic sequences as entertaining as possible. Plus, there was that whole Khan kerfuffle, where he tried to hide the character’s inclusion in the film, even though it was pretty obvious Benedict Cumberbatch would be playing him.
All that said, Abrams candidly remarked, “I would never say that I don’t think that the movie ended up working,” a statement which, even after he qualified it by saying it didn’t work as well as it would have “had I made some better decisions,” basically just comes across as a thinly-veiled middle finger. Considering that Star Trek Beyond will just politely ignore the events of its predecessor, the franchise’s direction seems to indicate that the feeling is mutual.