J.J. Abrams is known for his cloak-and-dagger method of hyping upcoming projects, so it's fitting that reports about him directing Star Wars: Episode VII arrived just a couple months after he announced in public that "I declined any involvement very early on" with the new installment in George Lucas' sci-fi franchise. That is, he chose his words carefully, when it came to "denying" that he's coming aboard.
Newly-appointed Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy has released a statement, confirming that the man who (successfully) rebooted Star Trek is breathing new life into Star Wars by directing the seventh installment. Meanwhile, Paramount has offered assurances that Abrams will continue to collaborate behind the scenes on its franchises like Mission: Impossible and a followup to this summer's Trek reboot sequel, Star Trek Into Darkness.
Here is an excerpt from the official Lucasfilm press release:
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."
Abrams is also producing the seventh Star Wars live-action installment, alongside his partner Bryan Burk and Bad Robot production company. In addition, the press release reveals that screenwriters/producers Lawrence Kasdan (The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi) and Simon Kinberg (X-Men: Days of Future Past) - who are reported to be writing Episodes VIII and IX - are consulting on Episode VII.
Meanwhile, Paramount Vice Chairman Rob Moore issued the following statement (via Hero Complex):
“J.J. will continue to develop projects for us including a new ‘Mission: Impossible,’ and he is committed to produce another ‘Star Trek.’"
Abrams directed Mission: Impossible III and produced director Brad Bird's fourth installment, Ghost Protocol, but his time-commitment to that Tom Cruise franchise shouldn't change (seeing how, last we heard, Jack Reacher director Christopher McQuarrie was tipped to helm the fifth movie).
As for Star Trek 3, well, Paramount's not dismissing the idea of Abrams returning as director (... yet). However, that's going to be near-impossible, unless the studio doesn't mind another four-year gap between Trek installments. Best to wait and see before calling that one either way, though...
Star Trek Into Darkness opens in theaters on May 17th, 2013.
Star Wars: Episode VII arrives in 2015.
Source: LA Times