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JJ Abrams confirmed as Star Wars: Episode VII director

JJ Abrams and Tom Cruise on the set of Mission Impossible 3

Story by Jack Foley

IT’S official! JJ Abrams will officially direct Star Wars: Episode VII for Disney.

The distributor confirmed the news less than 24 hours after news leaked that the Star Trek and Mission: Impossible 3 helmer was nearing a deal to make the next film in the series.

In a statement, Disney and Lucasfilm’s new chief Kathleen Kennedy said: “It’s very exciting to have J.J. aboard leading the charge as we set off to make a new Star Wars movie.

“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.”

The announcement completes a remarkable U-turn for Abrams, who announced in November last year that he wasn’t interested in taking over the franchise from creator George Lucas.

But Kennedy eyed Abrams as a first choice and doggedly pursued him, visiting his production company in January to try and sell her pitch for a new trilogy.

She is now developing the first film with Abrams and writer Michael Arndt, who has been writing the script since October.

Episode VII currently has a release date planned in 2015 although The Hollywood Reporter suggests that this isn’t locked down if Abrams wants to take more time.

The director is currently applying the finishing touches to Star Trek: Into Darkness, which is set for release in May, and should be involved in future Mission Impossible and Star Trek movies in a producing capacity.

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