And just like that, it’s official: StarWars.com confirms that J.J. Abrams will be directing Episode VII. He’ll also be producing, with partner Bryan Burk and Bad Robot along for the ride.
“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.”
Also on board as consultants – half confirming another rumor – are Lawrence Kasdan (The Empire Strikes Back, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Return of the Jedi) and Simon Kinberg. As always, Lucasfilm head honcho Kathleen Kennedy is Episode VII’s executive producer, while George Lucas is a creative consultant.
The frenzy began Thursday when The Wrap reported that the Star Trek director had the job. Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly and pretty much every news outlet you can think of quickly followed suit. “J.J. Abrams and “Episode VII” were even trending on Twitter.
His resume as a film director also includes Super 8 and Mission: Impossible III. He was also the mastermind behind the TV shows Felicity and Alias. But it’s almost certainly his take on Star Trek – which owes no small debt to Star Wars – which has most informed the reaction.
Abrams is an admitted Star Wars fan. He’s dropped multiple Star Wars references over the years, including a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it R2-D2 in Star Trek.
Abrams won’t be leaving the Trek fold entirely – Paramount’s Rob Moore told Hero Complex yesterday that Abrams is still under contract to at least produce a third Star Trek film.)
And I do feel for Star Trek in this – I don’t think there’s any real (non-petty) reason one can’t work in both franchises, but Star Wars talk is almost certainly going to dominate at least some of the press for Star Trek Into Darkness now.