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J.J. Abrams talks “Star Wars” and directing “Star Trek 3”

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J.J. Abrams has a lot on his plate right now with the upcoming release of “Star Trek Into Darkness” and his commitment to direct “Star Wars: Episode VII.” Many were surprised that he was tapped to tackle both famous sci-fi properties, but he reassures fans in a new interview that they’re very different beasts.

“The worlds are vastly different. Honestly, that was why I passed on ‘Star Wars’ to begin with. I couldn’t imagine doing both. But when I said that my loyalty was to ‘Star Trek’ I was literally working on finishing this cut. I couldn’t even entertain another thought. It was like being on the most beautiful beach in the world and someone saying, ‘There’s this amazing mountain over here. Come take a look.’ I couldn’t balance the two, so I passed on ‘Star Wars,'” he told Playboy.

Of course, Abrams was later convinced by Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy to come on board. “I was near the light at the end of the tunnel with my work on Star Trek. I felt I needed a bit of a breather, actually. But then Kathleen Kennedy [the new Lucasfilm head who oversees ‘Star Wars’] called again,” Abrams explained. “I’ve known her for years. We had a great conversation, and the idea of working with her on this suddenly went from being theoretical and easy to deny to being a real, tangible, thrilling possibility. In the end it was my wife, Katie, who said if it was something that really interested me, I had to consider it.”

Abrams has made it very clear that fans of his work on “Star Trek” shouldn’t expect “Star Wars: Episode VII” to look the same. His vision for the new “Star Wars” movie differs pretty significantly from the one he has for “Star Trek” if only because the two properties are so different.

“As with anything, because these are very different worlds, they shouldn’t feel the same aesthetically. They can’t. You’re right. But again, I don’t apply aesthetics first and fit a movie into that aesthetic,” he said. “If I had come into ‘Star Trek’ with those eyes, I would probably have been paralyzed. The advantage here is that we still have George Lucas with us to go to and ask questions and get his feedback on things, which I certainly will do. With ‘Star Trek’ it was harder because I wasn’t a ‘Star Trek’ fan; I didn’t have the same emotional feeling, and I didn’t have Gene Roddenberry to go to. But I came to understand the world of ‘Star Trek,’ and I appreciated what fans felt and believed about this universe and this franchise.”

As for whether or not Abrams would direct a third “Star Trek” movie, he said, “I would say it’s a possibility. We’re trying to figure out the next step. But it’s like anything: It all begins with the story.”

Are you looking forward to Abrams’ take on “Star Wars”? Tell us in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.

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Final Countdown

The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at IFC.com

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Rev Up

Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Give Back

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.



Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…