JJ Abrams officially confirmed to direct new ‘Star Wars’ movie

'Star Trek' director will take over from George Lucas on 'Star Wars: Episode VII'

JJ Abrams has been officially confirmed as the director of Star Wars: Episode VII’.

Yesterday (January 25), news broke via Deadline, The Wrap and The Hollywood Reporter that the Star Trek director was set to helm the new Star Wars movie. Lucasfilm has now confirmed that the rumours are true.

A statement, published on the official Star Wars website, read: “After a bevy of emails and phone calls, the formalities have been wrapped up, and at long last everyone can exhale and properly share the word with an excited Internet. Yes, JJ Abrams will direct Star Wars: Episode VII.”

Lucasfilm president, Kathleen Kennedy, added: “JJ 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.”

Speaking about the appointment of his successor, Star Wars creator, George Lucas, said: “I’ve consistently been impressed with JJ 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.”

The news comes as a surprise given Abrams’ recent comments on the project. Last month, he told Empire he had turned down Star Wars “because of my loyalty” to Star Trek, adding: “I declined any involvement very early on. I’d rather be in the audience not knowing what was coming, rather than being involved in the minutiae of making them.”

Disney has slated Star Wars: Episode VII for release in 2015 and hired Toy Story 3 writer Michael Arndt to pen the script. Back in October, the Mouse House announced plans to make a new trilogy of Star Wars films after buying Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion (£2.5 billion). George Lucas will serve as “creative consultant” on the new movies, but will not play a hands-on role in their development.

Meanwhile, Abrams’ latest film Star Trek Into Darkness is set to open in cinemas worldwide on May 17. Abrams has helmed three previous movies: 2011’s Super 8, 2009’s Star Trek and 2006’s Mission: Impossible III. He is also co-creator of numerous hit TV shows, including Lost, Alias and Fringe.