It’s Official: J.J. Abrams Will Direct & Produce STAR WARS: EPISODE VII; Lawrence Kasdan & Simon Kinberg Consulting on the Film

     January 25, 2013

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Disney and Lucasfilm have now confirmed what we already knew: J.J. Abrams will direct Star Wars: Episode VII.  The press release was sent out this evening, announcing that Abrams will not only helm the new sequel, but he’ll also produce through Bad Robot with Bryan Burk.  The announcement includes quotes from both producer and Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy and Mr. George Lucas himself, and here’s what Lucas had to say about the decision:

“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.”

Also of note, the press release adds that screenwriters Lawrence Kasdan (Empire Strikes Back) and Simon Kinberg (Sherlock Holmes) will be consulting on the project.  We previously learned that the two would have a hand in the scripts for further sequels/spinoffs, but it appears they’re also collaborating on Episode VIIMichael Arndt is writing the screenplay.  Hit the jump to read the full press release.

star-wars-episode-4-poster-drew-struzanHere’s the press release:

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 8Mission: 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 FelicityAliasLost and Fringe.

So, now that we have a director, here’s what we know about the new Star Wars so far:

  • Michael Arndt is writing the screenplay.
  • Lawrence Kasdan and Simon Kinberg are writing screenplays for other Star Wars films that could either be sequels to Episode VII or spinoff movies featuring other characters.
  • Zack Snyder may or may not be directing a spinoff Star Wars movie set in the same universe as this new trilogy.

Click here to catch up on all of the previous Star Wars news and rumors, and strap yourselves in for a very long, secretive wait for Star Wars: Episode VII to hit theaters in 2015.

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