Thursday, January 24, 2013

JJ Abrams Directing Star Wars?!? (Updated)

After frequently denying rumors, it seems that JJ Abrams was not able to ignore the call from Disney to direct Star Wars: Episode VII. Multiple Hollywood websites are reporting that unnamed sources have confirmed that J.J. is either in negotiations or has signed the contract to direct the first film of the next set of Star Wars trilogies (with likely first dibs on doing all three if he chooses).

The script for the film is currently being written by Michael Arndt for a summer 2015 release date. If true that means that either Star Trek 3 will get pushed back until after Star Wars or more likely the directing reigns would be turned over to someone else with Abrams retaining executive producer credit. Assuming Abrams is able to get the kind of deal that Michael Bay got for Transformers (back end points, percentage of the movie and toy profits, etc.), he could make over $100 million from the first film alone, something that anyone would have a problem turning down regardless of their level of interest which is high with Abrams who said "Star Wars is one of my favorite movies of all time." Considering he wasn't even a fan of Star Trek when doing those two films, wonder what the result will be when it's something he loves. Disney nor Abrams have yet to confirm or deny these rumors.

Update: LucasFilm has officially confirmed JJ Abrams will direct Episode VII.
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 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.

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