Disney officially announces J.J. Abrams as the director of Star Wars Episode VII

After The Wrap broke the story yesterday, Disney and Lucasfilm have officially confirmed that J.J. Abrams will direct Star Wars Episode VII. And from what they’re saying, it looks like he’ll only direct 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.

It does look like the screenplay will stay in the hands of Oscar winner Michael Arndt, which is an extraordinarily good thing. We really don’t need Abrams and his team messing with the story that’s already created. After all, the weakest parts of most of Abrams movies are the screenplays.

If you want my impressions on Abrams as the director of Star Wars you can head here. Basically, I love the move because Abrams is a proven blockbuster director who loves Star Wars and has shown that he can revive franchises. It does look like Disney/Lucasfilm is going to go the strategy of different directors for each film, which is for the best in my opinion.

Different directors allows Lucasfilm to control the story and allows the characters and universe stand out rather than individual director styles. This is the approach that Lucasfilm took with the original trilogy and it’s the same approach that worked for Harry Potter. Good job to Disney and Lucasfilm on getting their guy and congrats Abrams.

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