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Let’s Make It Official With a Press Release: J.J. Abrams to Direct “Star Wars: Episode VII”

So, Disney’s made it official that, as we mentioned yesterday, J.J. Abrams will direct Star Wars: Chapter VII. We already knew that Michael Arndt was writing it, and the press release confirms that, along with Lawrence Kasdan and Simon Kinberg on board as consultants.

But we can let the press release issued late Friday speak for itself. So, lets:

J.J. Abrams to Direct Star Wars: Episode VII

J.J. Abrams will direct Star Wars: Episode VII, the first of a new series of Star Wars films to come from Lucasfilm under the leadership of Kathleen Kennedy. Abrams will be directing and Academy Award-winning writer Michael Arndt will write the screenplay.

“It’s very exciting to have J.J. aboard leading the charge as we set off to make a new Star Wars movie,” said Kennedy. “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 went on to say “I’ve consistently been impressed with J.J. as a filmmaker and storyteller. He’s an ideal choice to direct the new Star Wars film and the legacy couldn’t be in better hands.”

“To be a part of the next chapter of the Star Wars saga, to collaborate with Kathy Kennedy and this remarkable group of people, is an absolute honor,” J.J. Abrams said. “I may be even more grateful to George Lucas now than I was as a kid.”

J.J., his longtime producing partner Bryan Burk, and Bad Robot are on board to produce along with Kathleen Kennedy under the Disney | Lucasfilm banner.

Also consulting on the project are Lawrence Kasdan and Simon Kinberg. Kasdan has a long history with Lucasfilm, as screenwriter on The Empire Strikes Back, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Return of the Jedi. Kinberg was writer on Sherlock Holmes and Mr. and Mrs. Smith.

Abrams and his production company Bad Robot have a proven track record of blockbuster movies that feature complex action, heartfelt drama, iconic heroes and fantastic production values with such credits as Star Trek, Super 8, Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol, and this year’s Star Trek Into Darkness. Abrams has worked with Lucasfilm’s preeminent postproduction facilities, Industrial Light & Magic and Skywalker Sound, on all of the feature films he has directed, beginning with Mission: Impossible III. He also created or co-created such acclaimed television series as Felicity, Alias, Lost and Fringe.

Okay, there it is.  If you haven’t weighed in yet on the prospect of J.J. directing the next chapter, or, for that matter, ostensibly leaving the Star Trek franchise because doing both might be a little problematic, the comments are open.

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  1. The idea is for another trilogy, so JJ and Mike better do their research. Star Wars is great for giving you no timeline in the movies. Nobody in either trilogy says how long it’s been since the last movie. So they have room to insert a new story all over the place. I hope they are thinking along the lines of the Timothy Zahn trilogy and not making another “Truce at Bucura” or however you spell that.

  2. Dave says:

    With Abrams at the helm we are pretty much guaranteed a fun movie, but what’s makes me nervous is that the universe will be abused/adulterated like it was in I-III.

    I agree with NathanialH that the star wars universe needs to feel lived in. It needs grit, dirt, and realism that made the originals great. We don’t need more antiseptic green screen and, dare i say it, a whole lot of flare (lens or otherwise).

    So when it comes down to it, with the writing and directing staff we know of now we should be given a fun story with good actors. Whether this goes from a fun blockbuster to a memorable movie great is up for speculation.

    • Dom says:

      @Dave – That is what bothers me as well. Sure it will be fun. Trek 2009 was fun, though as deep as a kiddie pool.

      Every year will have quite a few fun movies. We don’t need a movie to be simply fun. A Star Wars movie needs to be Star Wars first. If the universe, tone and internal consistency are not there, then it may as well be just any other non-branded movie.

  3. RG says:

    I guarantee you Kathleen Kennedy didn’t say “Hey, that went ok and that has star in the title.” Just look at her credits, if you’re not aware. This decision was, if nothing else, a very deliberate one.

    Producers aren’t always the bad guys, y’all. Many know their stuff nowadays.


  5. I think he’ll do a good job but you don’t need a big name to direct it. “Empire” wasn’t made by a big name. It just needs to be someone good that has a good vision.

  6. Lee says:

    Not a big fan of this decision. Abrams is a competent director but if feels like Disney looked at star trek and said “hey that went ok and that has star in the title.”. I don’t think this will be a bad movie but i don’t think it will be amazing either. Also lensflareeee!!!!!

  7. … Oh great, so now there will be even more reason to confuse Trek and Wars in the future. 😉

  8. Amy says:

    Yeah, i don’t want lens flares when they show an x-wing battle(please, please have a space battle!). I learned with the prequels to not get my hopes up, and I’ll continue that with the sequels.

  9. RG says:

    BTW, Science + Star Wars = Midichlorians.

    The Force – Prequels = Unknowable mystery.

  10. RG says:

    Dudes…. LAWRENCE KASDAN. Let me say it again:






    Not saying it’s guaranteed greatness, but at the very least, it answers the above questions brought up about “the people JJ Abrams works with.” I feel sure this is gonna be reeled in by Kathleen Kennedy.

    And beyond that, the argument about Abrams’ philosophical bent is, at its core, a general difference in viewpoint between scientists and artists. Anyway, Star Wars has nothing to do with science. Space opera ≠ science fiction.

  11. Dom says:

    And here I thought Disney’s purchase of Lucas Film was going to be a great thing.

    I really do not care for Abrams and the team of people he tends to work with. Much of the material they produce skews anti-intellectual. Just about everything portrays actual scientists in a bad light. The crux of every plot is some unknowable mystery that is beyond our understanding. Most of the endings come out of left field with little, if any, well written foreshadowing or clues. That’s poor (or lazy) writing.

    This is not what the next generation of scientists and engineers need. They should have something aspirational that shows them the wonders of the universe and how humankind can harness them. Abram’s typical work leaves humankind at the mercy of a cruel and arbitrary universe, often policed by some unknowable force.

  12. Nathaniel H. says:

    Here’s what I posted last night on Facebook. Unlike Trek, I believe Star Wars needs more of a direct continuation, not a flashy reboot kind of thing:

    Okay, world, fine: here’s my take on J.J. Abrams directing Star Wars. I trust him. I really do think he can do it. Yes, he’s known for extreme, flashy, modern movies, but I believe that somewhere deep down, the man knows what Star Wars needs to be. I believe that he knows that to succeed, new Star Wars movies need to feel more real like the original trilogy, and that there needs to be less CGI and greenscreen and more sets and live action. The joy of the Star Wars universe is that it’s lived-in, and though I can’t say why, I believe that J.J. Abrams knows that.

  13. Three Toes of Fury says:

    wow…they got it right.
    i honestly couldnt think of a better director to helm (and produce) the next star wars flick. After the reboot of the series with the so-so Episodes I-III, and a bit of a realistic look at the intense love/nostalgia of those of us who were part of the original star wars boom, i think its not really possible to capture the same magic in a bottle..but it IS possible to create incredible new movies in the universe we love…given the right writers, directors, and backing. From what i see so far, we’ll get that with Disney + Abrams and co. Im considerably more stoked for Ep VII and looking forward to taking 3ToF jr to disney world in about 5 years or so and enjoying the [email protected] of great star wars rides there!

    Peace .n. Wise this decision was Master Micky-wan Mouse-kanobi

    3ToF shooting first whilst tagging whomp rats back home and never telling you the odds or having delusions of grandeur after kissing my sister and chilling with scruffy looking nerf herders or tripping At-Ats.

    #Impressive…most impressive

  14. JetpackBlues says:

    As I said before, my inner child just died.

  15. Phil says:

    Anyone who is excited to see an expanded universe book made into a movie for Star Wars remember that he had an extended universe for Star Trek and he chose to reboot it. Also that he is a “fan” of monster movies and then made Cloverfield.

  16. MischaD says:

    I have no doubt J.J. Abrams is the right director for the job. I love his work and have every confidence that he will breathe new life into the films and respect the legacy at the same time. As a Trek fan as well, the idea of a different director to continue on Trek is a little scary…you can’t help but be a little invested in the director who pulled Trek from the jaws of death. I can’t wait for Into Darkness and I am now, officially excited for a new Star Wars film!

    @Markus – Felicia Day in anything makes me super happy!

  17. Markus says:

    As a major fan of both Trek and Wars (more so Wars),, I am genuinely excited about this. Trek 11 was amazing to see and it was the first decent Star Trek film since First contact in 1996 (I’m sorry but Nemesis wasn’t even a decent two part episode), so imagine how us Star Wars fans feel having not had a decent Star Wars movie since 1981!!!

    Abrams can do it. As Marielle said above, the source material is plentiful, and the storyline of the current books has Han, Leia and Luke at the age their actors are right now, so that would be a logical (see what i did there?) option, I think.

    Also, agreed about the female Jedi thing. BRING IN MARA JADE.

    Also, Felicia Day for Mara Jade. I’m just sayin’. Who’s with me?

  18. Marielle says:

    It’ll be interesting to see what they decide to do with the story and characters. There’s tons of source material in terms of all the official and unofficial books, games, etc. but I wouldn’t be against something new and interesting. I liked Star Trek, and this is speaking as a semi-hardcore fan of TOS (and J.J. admitted that he’s more of a Star Wars fan anyways… I might have even heard it on the Nerdist podcast lol).

    Oh, and can we PLEASE have female Jedi in semi-major roles?! It always pissed me off that Leia never got trained!