James Cameron Knocks J.J. Abrams’ ‘Star Wars’ for Lack of ‘Visual Imagination’

“For me, the jury is out,” says “Avatar” director about massive Disney hit in unusual interview

Last Updated: June 28, 2016 @ 6:17 PM

James Cameron is getting candid about one of his colleagues in a small but elite club of directors who earn billions for their beloved film franchises.

Cameron was recently asked about his thoughts on J.J. Abrams‘ “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” the reboot of George Lucas‘ space odyssey that broke numerous box office records for new owner Disney when it opened last December.

His response was not exactly the polite fawning one might expect during an on-camera chat.

“I have to say that I felt that George’s group of six films had more innovative visual imagination, and this film was more a retrenchment to things you had seen before and characters you had seen before,” Cameron said in an interview with YouTuber Keely Stinner.

The wide-ranging interview did not seem to have a particular objective or audience.

“It took a few baby steps forward with new characters,” Cameron continued of Abrams’ movie. “So, for me, the jury is out. I want to see where they go with it.”

Cameron, who is at work on four sequels to his juggernaut “Avatar” at 20th Century Fox, did say earlier in the conversation that Lucas is a friend of his — and that he has “a lot of respect” for Abrams.

Despite his creative take, Cameron certainly doesn’t want to contend with the upcoming “Star Wars” universe at the box office, and has said as much to that effect.

“My original plan was to release them a year apart, but we’re opening that up. If for no other reason than that I don’t want to land on the same date as one of the ‘Star Wars’ sequels,” Cameron said in April of the release dates for his four upcoming “Avatar” sequels.

“That wouldn’t be fair to them,” he said. “No, that’s just good business. I don’t want to go head-to-head with ‘Star Wars.’ That would be stupid. And hopefully they won’t want to go head-to-head with us.”

Cameron’s next opus, “Avatar 2,” is expected in theaters December 2018 — and will reunite Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana and Sigourney Weaver.

The next “Star Wars” universe project, “Rogue One” (which might be the original departure Cameron is hoping for) hits theaters this year on December 16.