To all pop culture enthusiasts living in Fresno, this examiner realizes that this news is coming in a day late, but after three month of endless rumors and debunking by nearly every director under the sun, it would seem that the first installment in Disney's upcoming Star Wars: Episode VII has finally found a director...and it seems that science fiction fans could not be any happier!
J.J. Abrams is a man that needs no introduction. After making his big break on television with such series as co-creating the television series, Felicity (1998–2002), Alias (2001–2006), Lost (2004–2010), Fringe (2008–2013), Undercovers (2010), Person of Interest (2011–present), Alcatraz (2012) and Revolution (2012–present). He also directed such films Mission: Impossible III (2006), Star Trek (2009), Super 8 (2011), and this year's Star Trek Into Darkness. He also served as producer on the films Cloverfield (2008), Morning Glory (2010) and Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011).
Ever since Disney purchased Lucasfilm and announced a new trilogy of Star Wars films last October, the Internet has been full of nonstop rumors over what director would nab what instantly became the most coveted gig in Hollywood. Abrams signing on to the project is ironic since his name was under considerations for some time (Ben Affleck's name was also high on the list) and Abrams has initially dismissed the idea of coming on board. As he was quoted saying last November:
"Look, Star Wars is one of my favorite movies of all time. I frankly feel that – I almost feel that, in a weird way, the opportunity for whomever it is to direct that movie, it comes with the burden of being that kind of iconic movie and series. I was never a big Star Trek fan growing up, so for me, working on Star Trek didn’t have any of that, you know, almost fatal sacrilege, and so, I am looking forward more then anyone to the next iterations of Star Wars, but I believe I will be going as a paying moviegoer!"
As reported by SFGate.com, Star Trek co-writer Robert Orci has further confirmed the news of Abrams' hiring on Twitter.
With Abrams' successful reboot of the Star Trek franchise and the promising direction he will be taking the sequel, coupled with his own professed love of the franchise, the science fiction community seems pretty content with Abrams' being given the project. The only concern fans may have is from Star Trek fans over what will become of their franchise when Abrams leave it in favor what has generally been recognized as it's greatest rival. Personally, this examiner is as excited as anyone to see where Abrams takes the Star Wars saga with Episode VII.
Abrams will be directing the film based on a screenplay penned by Little Miss Sunshine and Toy Story 3 screenwriter Michael Arndt. The title Episode VII obviously indicates that the film will be set an unspecified amount of time after Return of the Jedi. It is unknown at this time how many cast members from the original trilogy or the prequel trilogy will reprise their roles for the new films, nor is it known how much of the twenty years worth of "expanded universe" material set after Jedi that we have seen published in novels, comics books, video games, etc., will be maintained or retconned by the new film series.
Star Wars: Episode VII is set for release in summer of 2015, and with Mr. Abrams' direction, it is a safe bet that soon the Force will boldly go where it has never gone before.
UPDATE: J.J. Abrams has recently commented on his plans for the project. As he to E! Online, "It really is an incredible thing, It's wildly surreal." When asked about any specific details about the project, including how many members of the original cast will be returning, Abrams said, "It's obviously way too early to talk specifics," he said. "But I'm excited to actually start it."
Abrams was also interviewed by The Huffington Post about his plans for Episode VII, to which he told them, "You know, obviously, it's so early. I can just say what I want to do: I want to do the fans proud. I want to make sure the story is something that touches people. And we're just getting started. I'm very excited."