Deadline Hollywood is reporting the “Super 8” and “Star Trek Into Darkness” director J.J. Abrams has been hired to direct Disney’s upcoming “Star Wars: Episode VII.” Since George Lucas sold Lucasfilm to the Walt Disney Corporation for $4 billion and the production of a new Star Wars trilogy has been announced back in October, speculation has been rampant about who would work on the new films along with confirmed “Episode VII” screenwriter Michael Arndt (“Toy Story 3”). If Deadline’s source is correct and Abrams headed to a galaxy far, far away it will be in many ways the culmination of the “Lost” co-creator’s career.
After getting his start with the screenplay for 1991’s “Regarding Harry”, Abrams has spent much of his career working on well-regarded genre fare like Michael Bay’s “Armageddon” and John Dahl’s “Joy Ride” before making his directorial debut with 2006’s “Mission: Impossible III”, which is easily the best film in the series. His success with that film convinced Paramount Pictures that Abrams was the right director to reboot the dormant Star Trek franchise, which he did with great style with the simply titled “Star Trek.” The film was a huge success and Abrams made the surprising choice to follow it up with the deeply personal ‘80s Steven Spielberg tribute “Super 8.”
Most all of Abrams’ projects demonstrate a clear love for adventure and an impeccably fun sensibility so it makes a lot of sense that Disney would want someone with those qualities to direct a “Star Wars” film that uses all the beloved iconography but with an actual human heart underlining the fantastic setting and characters. And it has to be said, his “Star Trek”, with its destined for greatness protagonist, action heavy focus, and entire sequence that was set on the ice planet Hoth, owes a lot to George Lucas’ science fantasy epic. While it doesn’t really matter who directs a massively budgeted, thoroughly vetted tent pole movie like “Episode VII”, it’s cool that Disney hired someone who has such an aptitude for the genre and such an obvious love for property.
“Star Wars: Episode VII” will be in Cleveland area theaters sometime in 2015.
Mario McKellop has written about film on Examiner for the last three years and can be reached directly at email@example.com