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In the months after Disney announced that it bought Lucasfilm for a cool $4.05 billion, J.J. Abrams was asked in every interview about the possibility of directing Star Wars: Episode VII. He often said no, citing his commitments to Star Trek. However, when Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy asked him, he couldn’t say no. In an in-depth profile, Kennedy reveals how she swayed him over to her side of the Force.
Kennedy sat down with The Hollywood Reporter, explaining that Abrams was one of her first choices. She called his agent, Beth Swofford, who said that Star Trek took up most of his time. Then, she met with Abrams after Michael Arndt was hired to write and Lawrence Kasdan to consult.
“Please do Star Wars” was all she had to tell him. Then, Abrams “was flipping out when he found out that Michael and Larry were on the movie already,” she said.
“I learned firsthand how incredible and persuasive she is,” Abrams told THR. “The thing about any pre-existing franchise -- I'd sort of done that...But when I met with Kathy, it was suddenly very tantalizing.”
Kennedy finally closed the deal with Abrams on Jan. 25. The very next day, Lucasfilm made it official.
“We spent a lot of time talking about how meaningful Star Wars is and the depth of the mythology that George has created and how we carry that into the next chapter,” she said, noting that the 2015 target date might be tough to reach. “Our goal is to move as quickly as we can, and we'll see what happens...The timetable we care about is getting the story.”
While Lucasfilm is under the Disney umbrella, Kennedy says that it will be “a full-fledged production company” that will make “as many good films as we can.”