JJ Abrams rules himself out of directing new 'Star Wars' film

'Star Trek' director says he has other 'original' projects to work on next

PA
Photo: PA
JJ Abrams has ruled himself out of the running to direct a new Star Wars film.

Last month(October 31), Disney announced plans to make a new series of Star Wars films after buying Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion (£2.5 billion), with Episode VII supposedly earmarked for release in 2015.

With George Lucas set to serve as "creative consultant" on the new movies but without playing an active role in their development, speculation as to who will helm the new trilogy of movies has been rife.

However, when asked by Entertainment Weekly if he was interested in directing a new Star Wars film, Lost creator JJ Abrams quashed speculation saying: "I have some original stuff I am working on next."

Abrams is a big fan of the sci-fi franchise and was seen as front-runner to take on the director's role in the upcoming film. On his love for the films, he added: "Watching movies I was constantly trying to figure out how they did it, whatever the effect was. Star Wars was the first movie that blew my mind in that way; it didn’t matter how they did any of it because it was all so overwhelmingly and entirely great."

Yesterday, it was announced that Toy Story 3's Michael Arndt has now been officially commissioned to script the first film.

An announcement on the Star Wars website read: "As pre-production of Star Wars: Episode VII begins, Lucasfilm has confirmed that award-winning writer Michael Arndt will write the screenplay for the new Star Wars film. As revealed in the ongoing video series posted here on StarWars.com, (Lucasfilm president) Kathleen Kennedy and George Lucas have begun story conferences with Arndt."

Arndt is a known Star Wars fan with an impressive CV. He won an Oscar in 2007 for his original screenplay to Little Miss Sunshine and went on to script 2010's Toy Story 3, which earned him another Oscar nomination. He has also co-written The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, due next year (2013).

Meanwhile, Star Wars: Episode VII has yet to lock in a director. X-Men helmer Matthew Vaughn is reportedly in talks for the job, while Steven Spielberg has publicly ruled himself out.

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