It's Official: J. J. ABRAMS Directing STAR WARS VII

Lucasfilm and Disney put out a pair of press releases at Midnight Friday to officially announce that the deal is done, and J. J. Abrams is directing Star Wars Episode VII. The announcement was made after reports about thirty hours prior that the marquee director was in talks.

“It’s very exciting to have J.J. aboard leading the charge as we set off to make a new Star Wars movie,” said Executive Producer Kathleen Kennedy in the dual press releases. “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 also said, “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.”

Abrams, who is "more grateful to George Lucas now than I was as a kid," will also produce the film, alongside Bad Robot's Bryan Burk. Lawrence Kasdan, a Star Wars veteran, and Simon Kinberg, who were previously announced as associated with the upcoming new trilogy, will be involved with Episode VII as consultants, as well.

The following is directly quoted from Lucasfilm's extended press release, where they allowed other veterans of the galaxy far, far away to give Abrams some advice.

Press Release

Visual Effects Supervisor Dennis Muren, ASC, whose credits include the original Star Wars trilogy as well as landmark films such as E.T. and Jurassic Park, also worked with Abrams on Super 8. “He puts everything he has into his work,” said Muren. “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.”

Ben Burtt, responsible for such iconic Star Wars sounds as Darth Vader’s breathing, R2-D2’s beeps and the classic lightsaber, has 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,” said Ben Burtt. “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.”

Matthew Wood, who served as supervising sound editor on Super 8, similarly grew up as a Star Wars fan before working on the films through the 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.”

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