J.J. Abrams-Produced Sci-Fi Thriller 'God Particle' Sets Release Date

The movie will be directed by Nigerian-American filmmaker Julius Onah.

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It’s good to the be the king. Now that J.J. Abrams conquered the world (not China, though) with a little movie called Star Wars: The Force Awakens, you’d imagine he’s going to go big, right? Well, wrong. Instead, Abrams is going small-scale, first by producing the upcoming surprise sequel 10 Cloverfield Lane, and now Variety is reporting Abrams has set his sights on low budget sci-fi once again.

Paramount Pictures and J.J. Abrams’ production company, Bad Robot, have set a Feb. 24, 2017 release date for a science fiction thriller called God Particle. The project has taken a while to get off the ground, and was first announced back in 2012. It seems a little post-Star Wars clout is exactly what the movie needed to get kicked up to the front of the line four years later.

When it was first announced, Vulture described the plot like this:

“After a physics experiment with a large hadron accelerator causes the Earth to seemingly vanish completely, the terrified crew of an orbiting American space station is left floating in the middle of now-even-more-empty space. When a European spacecraft appears on their radar, the Americans must determine whether it’s their salvation, or a harbinger of doom.”

So, yep, sounds like a mysterious J.J. Abrams-type movie mixed with some topical large hadron collider scientific gobbledygook thrown in for good measure. No cast members have been announced, and initial reports say that the film will be made for somewhere in the range of a $5 million budget.

Julius Onah at 'The New York Times' Indie Online Film Festival in 2013.

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But the most interesting detail is that Abrams tapped Nigerian-American filmmaker Julius Onah to direct the movie. After the #OscarsSoWhite controversy, it’s great so see that Abrams is using his producer power to make the first of hopefully many industry-changing choices. People in charge, like Abrams, need to give people who don’t look like him opportunities like this if the inclusive atmosphere of Hollywood can change.

And it’s not like Onah doesn’t deserve it. He’s an up-and-coming director whose credits include a handful of shorts and a crime thriller feature called The Girl Is in Trouble. Prior to getting the gig on God Particle, he had been working on a sci-fi movie called Brilliance before co-stars Will Smith and Jared Leto dropped out.

Here’s hoping Abrams will use his power both to make the landscape look a bit different and tell the awesome sci-fi stories he’s born to help make.

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