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Disney Officially Confirms J.J. Abrams for Star Wars: Episode VII
Posted January 26, 2013 02:06 AM by Webmaster
Disney has issued an official press release confirming filmmaker J.J. Abrams (Star Trek Into Darkness, Super 8) will direct the highly anticipated Star Wars: Episode VII, from a script written by Academy Award-winning screenwriter Michael Arndt (Little Miss Sunshine, Toy Story 3).
The press release reads as follows:
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.'
As much as I know that Abrams can do a great job with this project, I hate the fact that it will either a) prolong Star Trek... ummm... 3... or b) force another director to take over the Star Trek franchise.
"He also created or co-created such acclaimed television series as 'Felicity,' 'Alias,' 'Lost' and 'Fringe.'"
Not to mention being an Executive Producer for "Person of Interest," which I think is an outstanding collaboration from the creative mind of Jonathan Nolan and the likes of Abrams, making for one of my all-time favorite TV shows. And it's currently only halfway through its 2nd season.
A friend of mine was wondering that if Abrams took over Star Wars, what would happen to Trek? Knowing the kind of "hands-on" guy that Abrams is, I figure he might at least finish a Trek trilogy either before or after the next Star Wars chapter. But if Trek keeps going in movie form, or if Abrams gets tied up with SW and can't do a 3rd Trek film, then maybe Brad Bird could step in somewhere along the line with Abrams still producing, ala MI:4.
In answer to LordCrumb's question, Fox still retains the distribution rights to the first two Star Wars trilogies, owning permanent rights for the original film Episode IV, while holding the rights to Episodes I-III, V and VI until 2020.
I think J.J. Abrams will do a wonderful job with Star Wars VII and will be hailed as King of All Nerds. He knows how to reboot franchises he did it with MI3 n Star Trek and he will do it again.
Only think I don't like about J.J. Abrams is that when he starts a new show he directs the pilot and writes the pilot and then leaves the show to everyone else. He hasn't actively written on a show since Alias I believe.
It is quite ironice that he directed the two franchises that people usually like one or the other.
This is definiyely fantastic news. Abrams, in my opinion will hit it outta the park. We will end up getting an epic movie like Empire Strikes Back. Can't wait for CVII in Orlando. I just know at that point we will have Abrams there and some of the movie to see. Can't wait. All coming into plan. He's working on Episode VII and CVII is coming too.
to me Abrams is the Spielberg of his generation. There will always be a divided line of fans who love and loathe what he does as a director. It is very obvious he is a Star Wars geek with many references during LOST's run and a few during FRINGE's run. If anything for those of us who would love to see a genuine sequel to Jedi and the return of Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and especially Harrison Ford would not hesitate with Abrams credibility even though we don't need these characters at the forefront of the story, Episode VII has epic written all over it! Obviously with this kind of pressure Abrams is up to the challenge of the legion of fans he is well aware he needs to entertain! This disturbance in the force is one I am very pleased with as well.
I hope Mr. Arndt's screenplay will be heavily influenced by Timothy Zahn's Thrawn trilogy, I'd love to see that timeline and story brought to the screen. The only problem is, how would they pull off a still young Han, Leia, and Luke without bringing in younger actors to replace them? If not, I hope it will at least not completely ignore its existence.
I wasn't very excited when the last few Star Trek movies came up... but when J. J. Abrams rebooted the franchise, there was something that told me this guy could pretty much do anything... seeing as he's now signed on to direct his first Star Wars feature, things will be interesting as he will be one of the few to have both sides of the coin... now how's that going to affect the eternal Trek/Wars debate? Can't wait to see that...
I don't think they could have picked anyone better for sure! Hopefully he can fix some of the damage Lucas has done to Star Wars with the prequels and the constant tweaking of the originals. I really hate to hear that Paramount still has the rights to the movies. That was my first thought when I heard Lucas sold Star Wars was that finally we may get to see the originals how they are supposed to be. Does Lucas still have say over how those are released or is it up to Paramount? If Lucas had no say then I could see Paramount still releasing them correctly without all the added crud.
People ive talked too about this are concerned about JJ Abrams taking over Star Wars. Im willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. Because by no means is he a Hollywood hack look at what he did with Star Trek he made it accessible to trekkies and non trekkies alike. But also look at MI:III and MI:IV and last but not least his Collaboration with Steven Spielberg Super 8 was fantastic. My only concern is how much influence will George Lucas have over this production because you know he will be involved in some way, shape or form
Not sure how I feel about this. I love JJ's previous works (except Super 8). I'm a HUGE fan of both Star Wars & Star Trek & I think what he did for Star Trek in 09 was absolutley phenomenal. But somehow it just seems wrong for the same guy to be heading up both franchises. What's next Joss Whedon directing Justice League? I am timidly excited about this you could say.
@lyonsfam1 - If you feel that JJ Abrams "ruined" Star Trek, you apparently didn't get around to watching what they had been putting out prior to his involvement. Voyager, Enterprise, Nemesis... you wanted more of that?
I can't think of a better choice, personally. A perfect fit.
Ok guys enough with the lens flair jokes. Abrams is the perfect man for the job. What he has done with Star Trek is amazing and also what he has done with the mission impossible series is great. Abrams is a smart guy and is a great storyteller. I am sure Star Wars will be awesome.
As long as there isn't an over use of lens flare or Tyler Perry anywhere to be seen, I'm happy. It's gonna be weird seeing the Disney logo along with Bad Robot before the movie, not having 20th Century Fox will be strange. Abrams seems a good choice, I'm sure he'll make a great addition to the best Sci-Fi series ever.
This is the best thing they could have done. A well known accomplished guy with tons of credit behind him and great for P.R. I think this will work out. Now the problem will become who will direct episode VIII cause you know he wont do it again after the intense scheduling, pressure and stress this will put on him.
If the Star Trek (see, JJ, I can use the full title and not constantly prattle on about 'Trek') casting of Simon Pegg as Scotty was anything to go by, we can presumably expect Denzel Washington or Edward James Olmos to feature as an older Luke Skywalker.
Abrams is certainly a solid choice and I'm sure he'll do a decent job. I just thought it would be cool if they went for a bolder, more "out there" choice for a director...you know, get weird. Like remember how David Lynch was considered for Return of the Jedi back in the day? That could have been a delightfully odd Star Wars film. It would have been cool to see someone like Rian Johnson, Neill Blomkamp, Del Toro, or something like that. Abrams should make a fun movie though.
I would love to see Kathryn Bigelow direct a Star Wars film. She would actually put some real tension into the story and she's great at directing strong women like a Leia character. Imagine Jessica Chastain, the daughter of either Luke or Han, as a newly minted Jedi to fight a new war. Bigelow certainly knows about how to direct movies about wars.
I happened to be one of the people who really liked the Star Trek reboot, but I'm not hung up about any of the Star Trek past plotlines and mythology. I'm actually far more concerned about the 2nd Star Trek film because if it's a reboot of "The Wrath of Khan", I'm going to be really disappointed. And if Spock dies (again) in this film, it means that the third reboot film is going to have to be a remake of "The Search for Spock" which sucked. I'd like to see a lot more originality in the reboots, otherwise, what's the point?
"Lost" was great (except for the series conclusion) because it worked on so many levels: you could enjoy it for the obvious plot or you could get into all of the references to history, philosophers and classic literature. I wouldn't mind if Star Wars got a bit more sophisticated in that regard (George only did it at the level of a Classics Comics), but since it's Disney, it will probably get far less sophisticated. But they'd better be careful: IMO, if it's just yet another evil villain who wants to rule the universe and a bunch of annoying space battles, it will deserve to fail. The original trilogy was a success because it was a stylistic surprise combined with great production values. We're no longer surprised by great production values - we expect it, so it's got to contain a great story.
Abrams pulled Star Trek back from the fanboy zone and made it fun and accessible again, just as it was in the days of the original series, and Episode VII will certainly be better directed than Episodes I-III.
My guess is that Arndt's script will have some of the "Expanded Universe" characters, but in a brand new story (they've said they're not adapting any specific EU stories), kind of like what Abrams did in his alternate timeline in Star Trek. Anyone feel like guessing casting yet? Hugo Weaving as Grand Admiral Thrawn? Jessica Chastain as Mara Jade? Chloe Grace Moretz as Jaina Solo? Dane De Haan as Jacen Solo?
@bboisvert I actually i enjoyed voyager and the like in fact it was one of the best series. I dont like the fact he took all the history and the characters made over all these years and flushed them all down the toilet. Now all the movies and shows i grew up watching dont matter.
Wow, Hugo Weaving would be PERFECT as Grand Admiral Thrawn! However, I'm sure that character won't be in the movie since they aren't adapting Zahn's Thrawn Triology. I assume Mark Hamill will reprise his role as Luke, so someone playing Mara Jade will need to be much older than Chastain. I will be crushed if they leave Mara out of a movie with an aged Luke.
I wonder if Han Solo will be featured as an elderly character like Harrison Ford's Indiana Jones in the most recent sequel? Seeing that all of the main actors from Episodes 4, 5 and 6 are still alive and well, this might be a geriatric version of Star Wars (with lots of new young actors/characters).
Ford , Hamill and fisher spent time last summer with lucas talking about possible roles in the new film / films --- the actor who plays thor and the actor who plays this brother Loki have both said they are interested in parts in the new films--so has Robert Patterson....
Woo hoo Super excited this is a good day for Star Wars. Good times are here and it starts now. Very happy that J.J. Abrams is going to direct episode 7. I don't think we have to worry about this I'm sure J.J. will do just fine with the film.
@AmazingSpartacus I see where you're coming from, they could always age Chastain up a bit with makeup to be closer to Hamill's age. I just think it'd be a real coup to land an actress with her credibility to anchor this new trilogy. Otherwise, Christina Hendricks or maybe Susan Sarandon? @lyonsfam1 J.J. didn't ignore the previous incarnations of Star Trek. Maybe you noticed Spock Prime (played by Leonard Nimoy) had a pretty crucial role in J.J.'s movie?
Very disappointed. It will end up a mindless, action packed, explosion filled, overedited, incoherent piece of crap just like Star Trek, Super 8 and Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol and people who don't have a clue what makes a great movie, will love it!
Its funny how no one has brought up the obvious conclusion IF JJ decides to make E VII w/ Hamil, Ford, Fisher, etc.... The same thing Disney did to have a late 20s/early 30s Jeff Bridges for Tron: Legacy. The more interesting question is, will they go through ILM for the visual effects, or will they bring in a different effects house(s) (maybe Weta for digital/practical FX, and KNB for make-up FX)?
@DaleDark I think it much more likely they'll leave Hamill, Ford and Fisher as they are. Luke, Han and Leia will be supporting characters and the new teen/young adult generations of Skywalkers and Solos will be the protagonists of this trilogy.
You're too funny, Crow. Abrams didn't direct M:I - GP. He produced it. Brad Bird directed it. Also, explosions and mindless action? You mean like all the space battles/Battle of Hoth we got in the OT? Were those not mindless action sequences? How about explosions of a planet, two Death Stars, AT-AT's, etc? Those all came from the OT, too. I think Lost is one of the best TV series I have ever seen, thanks to the "overediting". If it enhances the storytelling, I'm all for it.
So why doesn't he go for the Holy Trinity and take over the Tolkien franchise too?
Seriously I have reservations about this announcement. Helming both Star Trek and Star Wars at almost the same time is a risky proposition. Also his track record isn't perfect. A few of his movies and TV series have been failures. Don't assume that everything he touches will automatically turn to gold. He may be due for a big screen failure.
If I could ask one thing of him it would be to tell a good story, use physical effects/props where possible and keep CGI special effects to a minimum. Save them for a few "wow" moments. Use them when you can't do something "real". The model of the Star Destroyer passing overhead in the opening shot of Star Wars: A New Hope is still more impressive than the CGI generated ships in the prequels. The models have a "weight" or mass to them that no CGI drawing has yet been able to emulate. It may seem like a step backwards, particularly to the youngsters here but CGI still can't reproduce the real world convincingly.
If you're trying to say Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol was an Abrams film, it wasn't, Brad Bird directed it. Abrams directed Mission Impossible III. Although you'd probably just complain about that too and say "aww, same difference, derp!"
Sometimes I don't get other fans. We ask for a great director to take care of our loved history with Star Wars. We get a great director who'll do just that. Relax. Maybe you haven't liked every movie or show JJ has done, but to simplify the man's visions to exaggerated jokes about lens flares is simple minded and precisely why we ask for people like JJ, or Nolan, or Vaugn to take care of our prized fanboy stories in the first place.
I'm able to accept everything JJ does except for the lens flares. They cause annoying reflections on my glasses that make watching a long movie a real challenge. I barely got through the new Star Trek at the theatre. My eyes wouldn't stop watering. I'm hoping he's grown out of this very silly affectation for the future.
I'm surprised also that no one here has remarked on the appearance of Kathleen Kennedy's name in this article. She's been associated with Spielberg for so long. Is she finally breaking out on her own?
With those talking about Fox and the original movies........when Disney bought Lucasfilms it came with the whole shebang. Disney is going to release each film separately on BD before the new movie with free movie tickets. Disney/Fox/Lucasfilms worked out a deal like Disney/Marvel/Paramount
I personally think this is great news, but it will probably be summer before we start hearing much more news coming out of this. Abrams is committed to finishing Into Darkness and probably won't start working in earnest on this until after it has premiered.
Why are we so concerned over the Director when nobody cares about who's writing it? Do you all know who's writing it? Michael Arndt, writer of Little Miss Sunshine and Toy Story 3. I think the story should be in good hands...
It's funny.. the dumb comments are rated highly, and the intelligent comments are downvoted into oblivion. JJ could do amazing things here, but to moan about people mentioning lens flares isn't right. I mean, c'mon, if he goes nuts with lens flares it will not be Star Wars. Just like if he replaces John Williams with another composer. Or heaven forbid if he does away with the opening titles sequence that has been a staple of every single film in the series... I'm realistic enough to have high hopes, but also realistic enough to realize that he could screw this up badly.
It'll be interesting to see if John Williams chooses to remain with this franchise post-Lucas. If not, long-time Abrams composer Michael Giacchino would be an incredibly worthy stand-in for Mr. Williams.
I've been saying for years now (since The Incredibles was first released) that Giacchino has the potential to be the next John Williams. I never expected he might actually compose a score for a Star Wars film, though...wait and see, I guess.
As far as taste for directors and movies are quite personal, and surely mine is not different from others, I am inclined to say that the Disney folks made a huge mistake inviting JJ Abrams to direct a new Star Wars. Lucas had already let us down with the prequel, and JJ screwed up the new Star Trek beyond recognition. Those are the sum of all fears that could evidence that he is going to do the same all over again.
Frankly, I still do not understand this obsession of making prequels that have no meaning whatsoever with the development of previous characters. Granted, this is all for money, but will true film fans really care???
@paulo: These are not going to be prequels. They are supposed to be set after the defeat of the Empire. Exactly how long after has not yet been announced.
I agree about the Lucas prequels. George made some bad choices from starting with Anakin as a youngster to choosing a weak adult Anakin to deciding to use almost pure CGI when old style effects would have been more convincing (Ships in Star Wars II in the final battle). I can't agree completely about Abrams. His take on Star Trek has opened up new possibilities. The franchise had become far too weighted down by all the references / cross references / "historical" events that the it had built up over the years. It must have been like being in a strait jacket to the writers. Abrams has at least set Star Trek off in a new "clean" universe. It will be interesting to see if his vision can endure as the original did. I guess we'll know more in May.
ow ow ow
I just hate this Director : Alias, Lost, Mission impossible 3, all with very complex sub stories leading to nothing (wondering if he finds ideas on the go and discards most as he can't find a good follow up), bland action scenes, sub par TV movie music ...
Very bad news
There are lens flares in Ep I, VI and VII. Seriously get over it. Also, Abrams will shoot outside, on location and solicit a performance from his actors that they will rehearse from an actual script not some coddled sequence built around a cgi shot on a green screen without blocking or props.
@thedarkangel1975 - I thought the same thing. We're still some years away from being able to make it look good enough to really make people happy but I think it would have been worth the wait. I remember the crowd at Grauman's went nuts when '80s Schwarzenegger showed up for like 10 seconds in Terminator 4, and just a year or so later there was '80s Jeff Bridges actually carrying on conversations with other actors. Still not perfect, but really impressive progress.
Hell, we waited more than 15 years just to be handed Episode 1; a few more would be fine with me if it meant we got the Thrawn trilogy. Oh, well. Once they perfect the technology we can still look forward to some really good black market Princess Leia porn.
DISAPPOINTED!! I rather see JJ Abrams focus on Star Trek.. George Lucas should stop being over sensitive about criticism and critics.. If you truly are a director, you should keep on making movies... selling the franchise out was a bad move BUT if that's the only way we can see more Star Wars trilogies... THEN be it...
JJ Abrams has as much a knack for telling a story as George Lucas does, meaning that he doesn't know how to create a solid story. He just throws the cast together and lets them ad-lib all of their lines.
I loved what Abrams did for Star Trek, so am very excited about him directing the new Star Wars movie.
Of course, if Star Trek Into Darkness somehow monumentally fails, then there will be second thoughts about Abrams's abilities. But I don't think the new Trek film will fail. And Star Wars could be following Trek into a new golden era.
Star Wars meets JJ 'shaky cam' Abrams. He ruined already Trek with his reboot films. Now he's attacking Star Wars... ugh. But maybe he stops doing Trek now at least. And yes as mentioned before, he does fit better to the Wars audience.
@bboisvert Ah here you are again attacking anyone with a different opinion than yours. According to you if i say i liked Voyager or Nemesis that i am somehow wrong, everyone likes what they like and is entitled to their own opinion we do not have to agree with some smart ass like you who didn't grow up on this stuff and therefore doesn't mind having it all changed and thrown away. I wouldn't have cared if the man had made the NEXT Start Trek movie, just quit rebooting everything that was fine the way it was because your unimaginative generation cant come up with one unique idea on its own. LEAVE SHIT ALONE!!