The Walt Disney Company, which bought Lucasfilm Ltd. last October, announced the news on Friday night, after rumors of the move surfaced earlier in the week. Abrams will be working with a script by Michael Arndt, who won an Academy Award for his Little Miss Sunshine screenplay. Former Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy will be the producer.
“I’ve consistently been impressed with J.J. as a filmmaker and storyteller,” George Lucas said in a statement on the official website for Star Wars. “He’s an ideal choice to direct the new Star Wars film and the legacy couldn’t be in better hands.”
Abrams, who had previously said that he would be focusing on his own original material instead of taking over the series, returned the compliment. “To be a part of the next chapter of the Star Wars saga, to collaborate with Kathy Kennedy and this remarkable group of people, is an absolute honor,” he said. “I may be even more grateful to George Lucas now than I was as a kid.”
Star Wars: Episode VII is set for release in 2015, with two further installments also in the works.