'Star Wars: Episode VII' to be directed by J.J. Abrams, reports say
Is this the ultimate "truce" that will put aside the longtime rivalry between "Star Trek" and "Star Wars" fans?
"Star Trek" director and "LOST" co-creator J.J. Abrams is set to helm a new "Star Wars" movie for the Walt Disney Company, reports say, about three months after the firm announced that it had acquired franchise creator George Lucas' production company and would produce a new trilogy.
Reps for Disney and Lucasfilm had no immediate comment about the slew of independent reports, carried by Deadline, Variety, EW, The Hollywood Reporter , The Los Angeles Times and The New York Times on Thursday, January 24.
In late October, Disney announced its $4.05 deal to buy Lucasfilm. Lucas said a new "Star Wars" trilogy, made up of episodes 7, 8 and 9, was in the works. The acquisition was completed in December.
The New York Times reported: "An official announcement about the hiring of Mr. Abrams is expected to come later Thursday from Walt Disney Studios and its Lucasfilm unit, according to a person with knowledge of the matter who asked for anonymity to avoid conflict with the studios."
The Hollywood Reporter said Abrams is "negotiating to direct Episode VII," while Variety reported that the Walt Disney Company is "closing the deal."
"Star Wars: Episode II" is set to be released in 2015 and Michael Arndt will write its script, according to the official "Star Wars" website. He won an Oscar for his screenplay for the 2006 movie "Little Miss Sunshine" and was nominated for Disney-Pixar's 2010 film "Toy Story 3."
The reports did not specify if Abrams would direct more than one "Star Wars" movie. He has not commented.
Deadline said in its report that Ben Affleck, director of the Oscar-nominated movie "Argo," was also tapped to helm a new "Star Wars" movie. EW reported in November that Lucasfilm had sent a script treatment for the film to Abrams as well as to directors Brad Bird and Steven Spielberg.
When asked if he planned on taking on the project, Abrams told the outlet at the time: "I have some original stuff I am working on next."
Abrams directed the 2009 film "Star Trek," a blockbuster and prequel to a hit sci-fi franchise that created a massive international fan base, and also helmed this summer's sequel, "Star Trek Into Darkness."
The "Star Wars" film series also has a massive fan base around the world and a rivalry between viewers of both franchises has existed for years, even inspiring a mock feud between original "Star Trek" series star William Shatner and "Star Wars" actress Carrie Fisher and a tongue-in-cheek call for a "truce" among fans from "Star Trek" actor George Takei.
Abrams also co-created and wrote several episodes for the ABC sci-fi and mystery series "LOST," which aired between 2004 and 2010 and was a huge hit for the network.
Lucas, who created the multi-million "Star Wars" and "Indiana Jones" film franchises, has collaborated with Disney since the 1980s to create rides and attractions at Disney's theme parks based on his iconic serials. Lucas also produced "Captain EO," the Michael Jackson 3D movie and ride first featured at the Disneyland Resort.
The Walt Disney Company also owns the ABC Television Network and eight local news stations, such as KABC Television, OTRC.com's parent firm.