Update: Reports have officially confirmed J.J. Abrams for Star Wars VII. Disney released a official press statement naming Abrams as the director. Toy Story 3 and Little Miss Sunshine scribe Michael Arndt will write the screenplay and Lawrence Kasdan (writer of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi) will act as a consultant along with Sherlock Holmes writer Simon Kinberg. Abrams and partner Bryan Burk are producing via their Bad Robot production company along with Kathleen Kennedy under the newly minted Disney/Lucasfilm banner. For his part, George Lucas had nothing but glowing things to say about the decision. “I’ve consistently been impressed with J.J. as a filmmaker and storyteller,” he said in the press release. “He’s an ideal choice to direct the new Star Wars film and the legacy couldn’t be in better hands.”
The Wrap has revealed that— contrary to statements he made to Empire in December— J.J. Abrams has been hired to direct the new Star Wars movie for Disney.
The news was further confirmed by an article in Deadline and a series of tweets by The Hollywood Reporter’s Borys Kit. Kit added that, “negotiations [are] quite down the road,” which means that the announcement is not entirely official.
The Wrap report goes on to say that Ben Affleck was also in consideration for the director’s chair.
According to another article in /Film, Abrams was the first filmmaker approached to take on the job after Steven Spielberg passed. Spielberg was apparently instrumental in encouraging producer Kathleen Kennedy to hire Abrams.
Abrams has long been a professed Star Wars fan and has even said on multiple occasions that the series was a major influence when directing the 2009 Star Trek film.
How this latest development will affect his involvement with Paramount and the Star Trek series is not yet clear.