- STAR WARS EPISODE 7
The story broke early on Thursday, but now Walt Disney Pictures and Lucasfilm have officially confirmed that J.J. Abrams will direct Star Wars: Episode VII! The statement reads as follows:
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.
This might not be the best of news for Trekkie fans, as this could possibly mean that Abrams might have to jump ship entirely and leave the Star Trek franchise after the release of Star Trek Into Darkness.
|George Lucas and JJ Abrams|
Paramount's Vice Chairman Rob Moore says no. According to The L.A. Times, Moore expects that Abrams will "still be involved in some capacity with a possible third Trek movie, at the minimum as a producer, if not also directing the film."
Of course, Abrams' production company, Bad Robot, has a first-look deal with Paramount, so that comes into play here as well. And Moore also says that Abrams will continue to be involved with the Mission: Impossible series
No doubt, Abrams will have a producing credit on Trek 3, and who knows -- maybe he'll also have time to actually contribute to the film on a creative level. But let's not forget, Abrams' boys Damon Lindelof, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci are all writers-producers on the Trek films. Perhaps this'll be their time to take the center seat?
But also consider that Abrams waited 4 years to move forward with a Star Trek sequel, which could mean that Trek might only be hitting the big screen in 2016 or 2017.
Lucasfilm released statements from innovative artists who contributed to the previous Star Wars films, also endorsing the choice of Abrams.
Visual effects supervisor Dennis Muren, who worked with Abrams on Super 8: “He puts everything he has into his work. He totally immerses himself. He’s got such a visual eye, which is so important to the Star Wars films. It seems that a lot of the same things that were in George when he made the first Star Wars films are also in J.J. I think he’s going to fit into the other movies perfectly, with the energy that J.J. has. We’re kick-starting Star Wars again with dynamite. It will knock people out, including the people who get to work on it. I think it’s a great choice.”
Sound designer Ben Burtt, who worked with Abrams as sound designer and sound editor on Star Trek and Super 8: “J.J represents the next generation of filmmakers from those that were making Star Wars when I started. When he was a teen, he was a fan of Star Wars, and a great deal of his love for movies came out of his reaction of that first Star Wars film. You feel that he’s already invested so many years in it, and he’s going to propel it forward in a new way. In other words, you’re having a fan who has grown up and developed tremendous directorial skills finding himself at the steering wheel to take the franchise into the next stage. I feel like I’m there watching history turn over from one era to another.”
Sound editor Matthew Wood, who worked on Super 8 as well as the Star Wars prequels: “Working with him, it was so obvious to me that J.J. and I have the same nostalgic love of that era. Now we have someone from that generation who is going to be at the helm of the Star Wars franchise that I’ve known and worked on, so it’s a great circle. Just seeing what he did with Super 8 and capturing those moments, and knowing what was so special about that era, it’s going to speak to a new generation of audience as well.”