J.J. Abrams is stepping down as director of the next Star Trek movie, but insists he will stay onboard as producer. The sci-fi mastermind was behind the 2009 reboot, starring Chris Pine, Zoe Saldana and Zachary Quinto, as well as its 2013 sequel Star Trek Into Darkness. Abrams has now announced his decision to hand over the reins, but promises fans he will remain involved in the franchise. He tells Collider.com, "It's a little bittersweet. But I will say that I'm going to be producing the movie. Whomever it is that directs the film will be someone we all know is going to keep the cast and crew in good hands. I feel very lucky to have been part of it, and it definitely feels like the right time to let someone come in and do their own thing." Abrams' departure as director comes as he prepares to film the highly anticipated next installment in the legendary Star Wars franchise. Star Wars: Episode VII will begin shooting in the U.K. early next year (14).