The Walt Disney Co. issued a statement Friday night naming J.J. Abrams director of “Star Wars: Episode VII”—confirming Thursday's maelstrom of tweets, and answering once and for all the hornets' nest of fan conjecture that has been abuzz since Disney announced its purchase of Lucasfilm in October.
"It's very exciting to have J.J. aboard leading the charge as we set off to make a new 'Star Wars' movie," said Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy. "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 endorsed Abrams as well, saying, “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.”
For fans, like Abrams himself, who were raised on “Star Wars”, “Close Encounters” and “Raiders of the Lost Ark” this is about as good as it gets. Between “Star Trek” (2009), “Super 8” (2011) and the forthcoming “Star Trek: Into Darkness”—not to mention TV's “Lost”—Abrams has already begun to lead his fellow fans into a new Golden Age of science fiction and fantasy on film.
“Star Wars: Episode VII” is slated for release in 2015.