J.J. Abrams Will Direct 'Star Wars: Episode VII'

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A couple of months ago, J.J. Abrams revealed that he was offered a shot at directing "Star Wars: Episode VII" but turned it down. However, he must have had a change of heart, as Disney and Lucasfilm have announced that the "Star Trek" director will hop universes and take over the "Star Wars" franchise after all.

The Wrap reports that Kathleen Kennedy has indeed been courting Abrams for a while, and, apparently, the Force was too strong to resist. Abrams's candidacy was obvious from the start; not only has he secured fanboy street cred with his work on "Star Trek," but he's also been behind popular properties like "Lost," "Fringe," and "Alias."

Back in November, Abrams indicated that he wouldn't be interested in directing Episode VII, citing the enormous responsibilities and his desire to see it as a fan. At the time, he did discuss his reverence for the original film especially since it was the first movie to "blow [his] mind" in terms of special effects.

Now, he'll be the one at the helm tinkering with all of Lucasfilm's wonderful toys. He'll be directing from a screenplay that's currently being hammered out by "Toy Story 3" scribe Michael Arndt, and his hiring ends months of speculation that found numerous names swirling in the Episode VII rumor mill.

Abrams is currently in post-production on "Star Trek Into Darkness," which is set to hit theaters on May 17th. Presumably, he'll dive right into his work on Episode VII soon thereafter, as Disney has set a 2015 release date for the long-awaited sequel.

Meanwhile, this leaves "Star Trek" itself in a bit of a lurch; just four years after successfully reviving the moribund franchise, Abrams will have to hand the reigns over if the series is to continue. The Wrap notes that Abrams's deal with Disney could complicate things with Paramount, as his production company, Bad Robot, has been a "top supplier" for the studio.

At the same time, "Star Wars" fans should be much less anxious since Episode VII is one of a few projects Disney has in the works. While Abrams, Arndt, and company work on the sequel, Lawrence Kasdan and Simon Kinberg are also toiling away on undisclosed films.

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