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January 26, 2013

J.J. Abrams and ‘Star Wars': Disney confirms directing gig

Posted in: Movies

abrams3 J.J. Abrams and Star Wars: Disney confirms directing gig

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)

felicity J.J. Abrams and Star Wars: Disney confirms directing gig

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)

alias J.J. Abrams and Star Wars: Disney confirms directing gig

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

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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)

mi3 J.J. Abrams and Star Wars: Disney confirms directing gig

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

mi3 pose J.J. Abrams and Star Wars: Disney confirms directing gig

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)

lost J.J. Abrams and Star Wars: Disney confirms directing gig

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)

mi3 portrait J.J. Abrams and Star Wars: Disney confirms directing gig

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

fringe1 J.J. Abrams and Star Wars: Disney confirms directing gig

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)

st1 comic con J.J. Abrams and Star Wars: Disney confirms directing gig

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)

st1 still J.J. Abrams and Star Wars: Disney confirms directing gig

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

spielberg J.J. Abrams and Star Wars: Disney confirms directing gig

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)

super8 promotion J.J. Abrams and Star Wars: Disney confirms directing gig

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

super8 set3 J.J. Abrams and Star Wars: Disney confirms directing gig

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

super8 set4 J.J. Abrams and Star Wars: Disney confirms directing gig

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

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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)

st2 press J.J. Abrams and Star Wars: Disney confirms directing gig

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)

mcgrath J.J. Abrams and Star Wars: Disney confirms directing gig

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)

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

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

The news might have broken Thursday afternoon that J.J. Abrams would direct the latest installment of the “Star Wars” movie franchise, but Disney and Lucasfilm finally confirmed his selection late on Friday.

“It’s very exciting to have J.J. aboard leading the charge as we set off to make a new ‘Star Wars’ movie,” Lucasfilm chief Kathleen Kennedy said in a statement issued late in the day. “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.”

George Lucas went on to say in a release, “I’ve consistently been impressed with J.J. 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.”

“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 in the same statement. “I may be even more grateful to George Lucas now than I was as a kid.”

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Abrams, his longtime producing partner Bryan Burk and Bad Robot are on board to produce along with Kennedy under the Disney Lucasfilm banner.

Also consulting on the project, according to the statement, are Lawrence Kasdan and Simon Kinberg.

Kasdan has a long history with Lucasfilm, as screenwriter on “Star Wars: Episode V –The Empire Strikes Back,” “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and “Star Wars: Episode VI: Return of the Jedi.” Kinberg’s screenwriting credits include “Sherlock Holmes” and “Mr. and Mrs. Smith.”

Hero Complex reported earlier on Friday that Abrams will continue to be involved with the “Star Trek” franchise as well. In addition to directing the upcoming “Star Trek Into Darkness” — a sequel to 2009’s successful big screen reboot “Star Trek” — Paramount Vice Chairman Rob Moore said that Abrams will still be involved in some capacity with a possible third “Trek” movie, at the minimum as a producer, if not also directing the film.

Moore also pointed out that Abrams will continue to play a role in another of the studio’s most valuable franchises, “Mission: Impossible.”

“J.J. will continue to develop projects for us including a new ‘Mission: Impossible,’ and he is committed to produce another ‘Star Trek,’” Moore said.

– Gina McIntyre

Follow us on Twitter: @LATHeroComplex

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