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We were skeptical when the news first broke yesterday, but now it's all official. J.J. Abrams will indeed be directing the next chapter of the Star Wars adventure, with Disney announcing the news via press release this evening.
Sadly there's not any more information in there to go on-- Abrams, famous for his secrecy, is sure to guarantee that the details of where the Star Wars universe will go will be kept very much under wraps. He did provide a statement for the release, though, hinting at his lifelong status as a Star Wars obsessive:
"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."
Kathleen Kennedy, now the head of Lucasfilm following the company's sale to Disney last fall, will oversee the project as producer, working alongside Abrams and his Bad Robot partner Bryan Burk, who will also get producer credits. Here's what Kennedy had to say:
“It’s very exciting to have J.J. aboard leading the charge as we set off to make a new Star Warsmovie,” 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.”
Michael Arndt is still credited as the film's screenwriter, but intriguingly, Lawrence Kasdan and Simon Kinberg are also listed as "consulting on the project." We knew that the two had been hired to write for the Star Wars universe in some capacity, but at the time it seemed they might be working on separate films from the official Star Wars Episode VII. Now it seems like they're all one big collaborative team-- with a big, 800-pound-gorilla named J.J. Abrams entering the room with, surely, plenty of his own ideas.
For our thoughts on Abrams as Star Wars director, take a look at yesterdays' Great Debate, and let us know your own thoughts in the comments!