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It is official. J.J. Abrams will be directing Star Wars: Episode VII, Lucasfilm and Disney confirmed on Friday night.
Even though the Star Trek Into Darkness director had been quoted several times as saying that he wouldn’t direct the film, on Thursday, several sites began reporting that Abrams was in talks with Disney and Lucasfilm to do the new Star Wars film. Then, on Friday night, the studios posted a statement on the official Star Wars site confirming the news.
“It's very exciting to have J.J. aboard leading the charge as we set off to make a new Star Wars movie,” Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy said in a statement. “J.J. is the perfect director to helm this. Beyond having such great instincts as a filmmaker, he has an intuitive understanding of this franchise. He understands the essence of the Star Wars experience, and will bring that talent to create an unforgettable motion picture.”
George Lucas, the creator of the franchise, also approved the decision, calling him an “ideal choice” and adding, “the legacy couldn't be in better hands.”
Abrams, who has made it clear that he has been a Star Wars fan all his life, added, “I may be even more grateful to George Lucas now than I was as a kid.”
Episode VII will be written by Little Miss Sunshine’s Michael Arndt and co-produced with Abrams’ Bad Robot partner Bryan Burk.
Lucasfilm also confirmed that Empire Strikes Back writer Lawrence Kasdan and X-Men: First Class writer Simon Kinberg will be consulting. Their involvement in the new Star Wars films was reported back in November.
Lucasfilm posted comments from several Star Wars veterans, including visual effects supervisor Dennis Muren and sound editor Ben Burtt, who were all enthusiastic that Abrams is joining the team.
Episode VII will be the first live-action Star Wars film since 2005’s Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and the first not directed by Lucas since 1983’s Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. Disney hopes to get the new film out in theaters in 2015.
Abrams’ Star Trek Into Darkness hits theaters in May.