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January 24, 2013

J.J. Abrams set to direct ‘Star Wars: Episode VII’

Posted in: Movies

J.J. Abrams, who has made a name for himself writing, directing and producing such hits as "Lost" and "Star Trek," was tapped in January to direct "Star Wars: Episode VII." (Tracey Nearmy / European Pressphoto Agency)

Abrams made his first foray into television in 1998, co-creating the coming-of-age drama "Felicity," which starred Keri Russell as the title character. The show won a Golden Globe and an Emmy. (The WB)

Abrams created the Jennifer Garner-starring spy thriller series "Alias," which won four Emmys and a Golden Globe. (Norman Jean Roy / ABC)

J.J. Abrams on the set of "Mission: Impossible III," the first feature film he directed. The film earned nearly $400 million at the worldwide box office. (Paramount Pictures)

Director J.J. Abrams and star Tom Cruise on the set of "Mission: Impossible III." (Paramount Pictures)

Director J.J. Abrams and star Tom Cruise pose atop Shanghai's historic Bund 18 building after wrapping up filming in China for "Mission: Impossible III" on Nov. 30, 2005. (Associated Press)

Abrams co-created "Lost" with Jeffrey Lieber and Damon Lindelof. The suspense-filled show followed a group of people after their plane crashed on an island. The massively popular series became a cultural touchstone, with millions of viewers tuning in for twist after twist. (ABC)

J.J. Abrams is photographed in Los Angeles in April 2006. (Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times

J.J. Abrams, second from left, poses with the cast members from "Fringe," a sci-fi television series he co-created with Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci. (Rich Lam / Getty Images)

J.J. Abrams reveals his first casting for his 2009 reboot of "Star Trek" during a 2007 Comic-Con panel in San Diego. (Spencer Weiner / Los Angeles Times)

A scene from Abrams' 2009 film "Star Trek," which raked in more than $385 million worldwide. (Paramount Pictures)

Steven Spielberg, left, co-produced the 2011 film "Super 8," which J.J. Abrams wrote and directed. The pair are shown here at a 2009 dinner honoring Spielberg in Beverly Hills. (Michael Kovac / WireImage)

J.J. Abrams and Steven Spielberg on the set of "Super 8." (Paramount Pictures)

Director J.J. Abrams and actor Kyle Chandler on the set of "Super 8." (Paramount Pictures)

Young actors Joel Courtney and Riley Griffiths discuss a scene with director J.J. Abrams on the set of "Super 8." (Paramount Pictures)

J.J. Abrams, left, and Eric Kripke executive produce the post-apocalyptic adventure series "Revolution." The pair are photographed here at Abrams' company Bad Robot in Santa Monica on Aug. 20, 2012. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Abrams, second from left, shares the stage with "Star Trek Into Darkness" actor Benedict Cumberbatch, star Chris Pine and producer Bryan Burk during a December 2012 press conference for the sequel to their 2009 blockbuster. (Koji Sasahara / Associated Press)

J.J. Abrams and his wife Katie McGrath are co-chairs of the Children's Defense Fund of California. They're photographed here in December 2012. (Mark Davis / Getty Images)

J.J. Abrams is photographed in Beverly Hills in June 2011. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

J.J. Abrams is photographed in Beverly Hills in June 2011. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

J.J. Abrams is set to direct “Episode VII.”

Sources have confirmed the “Star Trek Into Darkness” filmmaker will helm the next “Star Wars” movie, the highly anticipated installment in the landmark franchise scheduled to reach theaters in 2015.

PHOTOS: ‘Star Wars’ at the box office

[Updated: 10:30 a.m. Jan. 25]: The news first broke on The Wrap website Thursday afternoon.

Abrams, who previously had denied that he would be involved with the project, is now in a position of creative control over the two most beloved franchises in the science-fiction universe: “Star Wars” and “Star Trek.”

Abrams rebooted “Star Trek” for the big screen in 2009 to much acclaim and rousing boxoffice receipts, with the film collecting upwards of $385 million. His follow-up, “Star Trek Into Darkness,” is due in theaters May 17.

His decision to direct a “Star Wars” film, however, throws into question his future with that Paramount franchise. Scheduling commitments most likely would preclude him from directing a potential third “Trek” movie.

“Star Wars: Episode VII” will be written by Michael Arndt, the Oscar-winning screenwriter of “Little Miss Sunshine” and “Toy Story 3.”

Simon Kinberg and Lawrence Kasdan have been tapped to write “Star Wars” projects as well, but it’s unclear whether their scripts will be for future episodes or for films outside the official trilogy.

Kasdan co-wrote the screenplay for the “Star Wars: Episode V — The Empire Strikes Back.”

The upcoming trilogy of new films was announced Oct. 30 when the Walt Disney Co. went public with its plans to acquire Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion.

George Lucas is expected to serve as a creative consultant on the new movies.

– Gina McIntyre

Follow us on Twitter: @LATHeroComplex

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