From 'Felicity' to 'Star Wars:' The world of J.J. Abrams – J.J. Abrams produced 2016's "10 Cloverfield Lane," a followup to "Cloverfield," about a monster that terrorizes New York City. He says the new flick isn't a sequel but a "spiritual successor" to the 2008 movie.
Abrams has inherited the legacy of George Lucas, having scored the job of director for "Star Wars Episode VII." He is also guiding the rebooted "Star Trek" franchise on the big screen. It was not obvious from his early career, however, that he was destined for sci-fi greatness.
One of Abrams' earliest Hollywood successes was his script for the hit movie "Regarding Henry," starring Harrison Ford as a husband and father starting over after amnesia.
Abrams created "Felicity" for the WB in 1998. The soap about a college love triangle was a hit for the network, and the drama around Keri Russell's hair made headlines.
Jennifer Garner became a household name in 2001 with ABC's "Alias," a show Abrams came up with after imagining what Felicity might be like as a CIA spy. Here the cast and crew, including a young Bradley Cooper, celebrated their People's Choice Award in 2002.
"Alias" proved a then-rare hit for ABC, and Abrams was brought on board the network's ambitious pilot for "Lost." He co-wrote the script, adding key concepts to the show, and directed that first episode. The series he co-created would go on to be one of the biggest television phenomenon of the past decade.
"Alias" made Abrams seem like a natural choice to continue Tom Cruise's "Mission: Impossible" franchise. "Mission: Impossible III" in 2006 was Abrams' feature film debut as a director. He went on to produce "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol" in 2011 and will reportedly produce the fifth film in the series.
Continuing his television career, Abrams co-created Fox's cult sci-fi series "Fringe," which wrapped up with a 100-episode run.
Abrams tackled his biggest challenge to date in 2009, successfully relaunching the dormant "Star Trek" franchise, telling the story of the classic Starship Enterprise crew's early days with a brand new cast.
Abrams' homage to the early films of Steven Spielberg, 2011's "Super 8," was largely praised by critics, though it also has more than its fair share of vocal detractors. Working with a lower budget, Abrams scored another box office hit.
The number of broadcast networks without a J.J. Abrams series got smaller in 2011 when CBS picked up "Person of Interest," a sci-fi procedural where he serves as Executive producer. "Lost's" Michael Emerson co-stars with Jim Caviezel in what has become one of the top rated dramas on television.
Abrams went high-concept again as executive producer for NBC's "Revolution." The series imagines the aftermath of a world without electronics. It has been one of the biggest success stories of the season for network TV.
Fans are intrigued by what they've seen so far of Abrams' sequel "Star Trek Into Darkness," which has added "Sherlock" actor Benedict Cumberbatch to the mix as Kirk's nemesis. The movie hits theaters on May 17.