Jeffrey Jacob "J.J." Abrams (born June 27, 1966) is a producer, writer, and director with a kink for lens-flare.
He's known for his work on Felicity, Alias, Lost, Fringe, Cloverfield, Armageddon (1998), Mission: Impossible III, the Star Trek (2009) film, its sequel Star Trek Into Darkness and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. He has won several Emmys and Golden Globes during his roughly 20 year career in the industry.
Along with Joss Whedon and Christopher Nolan, he is considered one of the most prolific modern "genre" TV/film creators since Steven Spielberg, including by Spielberg himself, who produced Abrams' tribute to 70s/80s Spielberg sci-fi movies, Super 8.
He likes red balls and playing with the perception of time, as well as having a thing for Lens Flares. He hates airplanes (both Lost and Fringe have had more than one airline-related disaster—and the other stuff on the list of credits also have had aviation-related incidents).
Contrary to popular belief, his involvement in Lost was marginal; Abrams and eventually Damon Lindelof were asked to help flesh out a concept for the show when ABC chairman Lloyd Braun rejected Jeffrey Lieber's treatment, but by the time the first season started to take off, Abrams had already left to direct Mission: Impossible III. Lindelof, suddenly left alone with the Showrunner burden, considered quitting too, but was convinced by former co-writer Carlton Cuse to stay. Cuse then joined the show as a second showrunner. Abrams remained an executive producer, and later briefly returned to write the season 3 premiere together with Lindelof, but as he and others stated in numerous interviews Lindelof and Cuse ran the show entirely without him.
Has a similar "shepherding" role to most TV series he is involved in, including Fringe and Person of Interest, with his most hands-on projects being his movies. He also developed the concept for the novel S, which was written by Doug Dorst.
Has the notable distinction of being the only director (so far) tapped to helm both a Star Trek and a Star Wars movie — with his involvement in the former series happening because the latter series had, at that time, ended. As of 2019, he's gotten to direct two of each.
- Alcatraz (executive producer)
- Anatomy of Hope
- Armageddon (1998) (writer) (the first time he's credited as J.J. Abrams)
- Castle Rock (producer)
- Cloverfield (creator, producer)
- Cloverfield (producer)
- 10 Cloverfield Lane (producer)
- The Cloverfield Paradox (producer)
- Untitled fourth Cloverfield sequel (writer, producer)
- Duster (producer)
- Family Guy (guest voice, one episode)
- Felicity (executive producer, co-creator)
- Forever Young (writer)
- Fringe (executive producer and writer)
- Gone Fishin' (writer)
- The Heavy (producer)
- Jimmy Kimmel Live! (guest director, one episode)
- Joy Ride (writer, producer)
- Untitled Justice League Dark series (producer)
- Lovecraft Country (as producer)
- Lost (producer, writer, director)
- Mission: Impossible III (director)
- Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (producer)
- Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation (producer)
- Mission: Impossible – Fallout (producer)
- Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One (producer)
- Morning Glory (producer)
- Overlook (producer)
- Overlord (2018) (producer)
- Person of Interest (producer)
- Regarding Henry (writer)
- S. (Conceived by Abrams, written by Doug Dorst)
- Six Degrees
- Spider-Man: Bloodline (co-writer, with son Henry Abrams)
- Star Trek (2009) (director)
- Star Trek Into Darkness (director)
- Star Trek Beyond (Writer and Producer)
- Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens (director, co-writer with Lawrence Kasdan)
- Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi (executive producer)
- Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker (director, co-writer with Chris Terrio)
- Super 8 (director, writer)
- Taking Care of Business (writer)
- The Catch
- The Office (US)
- The Pallbearer
- The Suburbans
- Westworld (producer)
- What About Brian
J.J. Abrams and his works frequently contain examples of:
- Action Girl: Occurs quite frequently. Alias and Fringe both star iconic women in action roles, Sydney Bristow, Olivia Dunham, Michelle and Rey respectively.
- Author Appeal: In addition to the aforementioned Action Girl, lens flares. Both Star Trek films and Super 8 made extensive use of it and his usage of it is a prime source of parody.
- He also seems to love depicting scenes where the protagonists explore the massive metallic wreckage of giant vehicles, which usually dwarfs the characters in scale. The train crash in Super 8, the debris field of destroyed Starfleet vessels after a battle with Nero in Star Trek, and the wreckage of Imperial war machines scattered in The Force Awakens and The Rise of Skywalker are only a few examples of this.
- Several of his movies also feature scenes where the characters get attacked by large, nasty, frequently multi-limbed alien creatures with varying degrees of relevance to the plot. The entire plot of Cloverfield, the rathtars in The Force Awakens, the alien in Super 8, the giant red squid-shark monster that attacks Kirk on Delta Vega in Star Trek, etc...
- Daddy Issues. Whether it's Alias with the lead's dad's Face–Heel Revolving Door, killing off James T Kirk's biological dad to introduce an abusive stepfather to his backstory, to Rey and Finn's antagonistic parental surrogates in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
- Creator Thumbprint: His films and shows feature the name "Kelvin", in honor of his grandfather.
- Doing It for the Art: He is a supporter of keeping film/celluloid cameras in use in Hollywood, alongside Christopher Nolan and Quentin Tarantino. The three of them, and a few other filmmakers, even formed a coalition to "bail out" Kodak to keep film stock in production.
- Earth-Shattering Kaboom: Another common occurrence in his science fiction movies. Star Trek (2009), The Force Awakens, and The Rise of Skywalker all depict at least one planet being blown up by the Big Bad.
- Jigsaw Puzzle Plot: His "Mystery Box" concept is built around keeping secrets and raising questions so that an audience will keep guessing. This approach has garnered some criticism. The problem is that according to critics, he always forgets to put something interesting, satisfying or impactful in said box or anything at all, essentially leading audiences like donkeys with a carrot on a stick. That is not counting the possibility of The Chris Carter Effect happening.
- Kill and Replace: Tends to happen at least once per show with regards to a prominent side character, notable in the second seasons of both Alias and Fringe.
- Lens Flare: A stylistic trope more prevalent in his movies than his TV shows, with Star Trek (2009) being the biggest offender thus far.
- Magic Realism: Alias, Felicity, and Lost all have elements of this. Lost is probably the best example.
- No Sense of Distance: His forays into space opera have shown that he has little concern about the scale of interplanetary and and interstellar distances, preferring to decide his visuals via Rule of Cool.
- Production Posse: He's worked on a number of projects with writers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, cinematographer Dan Mindel, and composer Michael Giacchino. When he can, he will always try to fit Greg Grunbergnote or Simon Pegg in either a cameo or supporting role, while Felicity star Keri Russell also appeared in Mission: Impossible III and The Rise of Skywalker.
- Promoted Fanboy:
- Star Wars is one of Abrams' favorite films of all time and he later directed Episode VII and Episode IX.
- Super 8 was essentially his ode to Steven Spielberg's early work (specifically, E.T. and Close Encounters).
- The Reveal/Teasing Creator: His frequent use of the Jigsaw Puzzle Plot in his works involves keeping one element of a project under wraps during marketing to keep audiences guessing. After Star Trek Into Darkness took this approach with Khan, a backlash started to emerge against it.