The rumors were true: Lucasfilm has announced that J.J. Abrams will be stepping behind the camera for the latest entry in the Star Wars saga. The news comes via a lengthy blog post at the official Star Wars website, with producer Kathleen Kennedy stating that "It's very exciting to have J.J. aboard leading the charge as we set off to make a new Star Wars movie." Kennedy goes on to call him "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."
"The legacy couldn't be in better hands."
Lucas went on to give similarly-glowing praise, saying he's been impressed with Abrams as a filmmaker and that "the legacy couldn't be in better hands."
Although it was known that Lucasfilm would be producing the film for its eventual Disney release, the addition of Abrams adds another element to the mix: Abrams' own production company Bad Robot. Abrams' producing partner Bryan Burk will be joining the film as a producer as well.
Kasdan will serve as a consultant
The release goes on to describe what could be seen as a dream team for the new film, with Toy Story 3 scribe Michael Arndt writing the screenplay, and both Lawrence Kasdan and Simon Kinberg serving as consultants. Kasdan, of course, helped write such classics as The Empire Strikes Back and Raiders of the Lost Ark. Both he and Kinberg have been hired to write future Star Wars sequels, as well.
"We're kick-starting 'Star Wars' again with dynamite."
Rounding out the high praise for Abrams is visual effects supervisor Dennis Muren and sound designer Ben Burtt, both of whom worked on Star Wars films as well as having collaborated with Abrams on Super 8. "It seems that a lot of the same things that were in George when he made the first Star Wars films are also in J.J.," Muren is quoted as saying. "I think he's going to fit into the other movies perfectly, with the energy that J.J. has. We're kick-starting Star Wars again with dynamite."
While Muren does indeed says movies — plural — there's as of yet no indication that Abrams is set to direct any Star Wars sequels beyond Episode VII.