Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic, Lucasfilm
It looks like J.J. Abrams will be the director of "Star Wars: Episode VII," the first "Star Wars" film under the Disney banner and the first installment of a planned new trilogy, according to reports published Thursday. Neither Lucasfilm nor Abrams has officially confirmed yet, but an official announcement is said to be forthcoming.
This is surprising news, as not only is Abrams the captain of a certain other sci-fi action adventure tentpole series, he also said back in November that he didn't want the "Star Wars" job.
"I have some original stuff I am working on next," said Abrams in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, though he made it clear that his declining the offer isn't because he's not a fan.
"As a kid I was always a fan of special effects," he said. "Watching movies I was constantly trying to figure out how they did it, whatever the effect was. 'Star Wars' was the first movie that blew my mind in that way; it didn’t matter how they did any of it because it was all so overwhelmingly and entirely great."
Well, Abrams may now be the one who's overseeing all that great stuff after all. The Force is apparently strong with Lucasfilm chief Kathleen Kennedy, who may have performed a Jedi mind trick on Abrams in getting him to commit to a trip to a galaxy far, far away.
Abrams apparently wasn't the only A-list filmmaker recently targeted by Kennedy, as "Argo" director Ben Affleck was also approached for the gig, according to The Wrap. Affleck seems to be shying away from the franchises, as he apparently also turned down an offer to direct "Justice League" at Warner Bros.
If we indeed have our "Episode VII" director, we now need to find out what the heck "Episode VII" is about. Plot details have, not surprisingly, been kept under wraps, and they'll probably now get triple security if the highly secretive Abrams is on board. For now, it's all just rumors and theories as to what screenwriter Michael Arndt (an Oscar winner for "Little Miss Sunshine") has conjured, one of which involves a middle-aged Luke Skywalker now running a Jedi Academy on Yavin 4, where the Rebels launched their attack on the Death Star in "A New Hope."
However, according to Moviefone, this new film will be an original story that won't draw from any currently existing work, such as Timothy Zahn's "Heir to the Empire" books that take place soon after the events of "Return of the Jedi."
Fans and commentators took to Twitter to express their surprise, and in some cases, unhappiness that the same director would be at the helm of the two biggest science fiction movie franchises.