Disney makes it official: JJ Abrams is definitely directing the new STAR WARS

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So chances are that you if you found yourself on any portion of the internet last week – yes, even those sleazy corners where people dress up in full body latex horse costumes (so I hear) – then you would have seen the big news that JJ Abrams will be adding another Star franchise to his collection, as the Star Trek director had reportedly been picked to helm the massively anticipated Star Wars: Episode VII.

Well, if you’re JJ hater who didn’t like the sound of that and was hoping this was all one big case of mistaken identity, then Disney/Lucasfilm has some bad news for you.

The House of Mouse made it all official over the weekend as they released this press statement:

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.

Now if there’s one thing that you should take away from that statement, it would be Kathleen Kennedy saying that Abrams “has an intuitive understanding of this franchise” and that he “understands the essence of the Star Wars experience”. It cannot be understated just how much of a huge Star Wars fanboy Abrams is. In fact, it was that love of the universe that made him turn down the directing gig the first time, as he’d rather experience more Star Wars as a fan than be involved with the day to day minutia of it.

However, something must have convinced him to reconsider. Was it just Steven Spielberg’s constant insistence, as has been reported, or could it be that the outline for Arndt’s script is just that good?

And as for the “lightsaber lens flare” meme creators, I hate to break it you, but I don’t think Abrams is going to be giving you much inspiration for your hobby. You see, it’s arguable that Abrams already made his personal version of a Star Wars movie (twice!) when he reinvented Star Trek, and I doubt he’s going to go back to that same creative well for a third time. That leads me to believe that we’re going to see something different from him this time around. And with Disney’s previous statements that they wanted to recapture the glory days of the franchise (even going so far as to get original trilogy writer Lawrence Kasdan involved), I think that whole glossy, super shiny look that Abrams employed for Star Trek will not be on display here. Less Phantom Menace, more Empire Strikes Back.

Either way, whatever approach he takes, I’m just happy that George Lucas guy isn’t involved in this at all.

Last Updated: January 28, 2013

Kervyn Cloete

A man of many passions - but very little sleep - I've been geeking out over movies, video games, comics, books, anime, TV series and lemon meringues as far back as I can remember. So show up for the geeky insight, stay for the delicious pastries.

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