LAS VEGAS - A newly announced "Star Wars" sequel was on everyone's mind when J.J. Abrams took the stage Wednesday at a Las Vegas video game conference, but he made only a sideways mention of the film he has been hired to direct.
The reference was a throw-away joke from his last franchise reboot.
Talking about the importance of embroidering films with subtle detail, the science fiction director played a scene from his 2009 "Star Trek" film and freeze-framed to reveal a familiar "Star Wars" robot peeking out from amid the space junk.
"So they're looking at all the debris that's out there, and curiously, it's R2D2," he said, drawing a roar of laughter.
Gabe Newell, president of video game developer Valve, shared a stage with Abrams at the Design, Innovate, Communicate, Entertain Summit at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.
"So now I have to go back through your movies looking at all the debris to figure out what movie you're going to direct next?" Newell asked.
Abrams has given die-hard fans few clues about his vision for the seventh live-action "Star Wars" film since he was announced as its director in January.
He has become a trusted steward of beloved fantasy universes after directing well-received additions to the "Star Trek" and "Mission: Impossible" franchises.