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J.J. Abrams trades phasers for lightsabers in directing Star Wars Episode VII

The more a film director denies that he’s making a Star Wars movie for Disney, the more likely it seems that they will in fact film people swinging lightsabers around on screen after all. Following the Jan. 15 report that Zack Snyder (300Man of Steel) will direct a Star Wars spinoff once he finishes with his current features comes word that none other than Mr. Star Trek himself, J.J. Abrams, will take control of the mainline series. Multiple Thursday reports claim that once Abrams wraps Star Trek: Into Darkness he’ll begin work on Star Wars Episode VII.

Deadline reported first on Thursday that Abrams would direct the film, working with the script penned by Michael Arndt. Arndt, writer of Toy Story 3 and Little Miss Sunshine, was the first person to be officially attached to the beginning of the next Star Wars trilogy. “It’s a done deal with J.J.,” said Deadline’s unnamed source. The Wrap also confirmed the story, claiming that its source said Disney and Lucasfilm had also been pursuing Argo director Ben Affleck.

The Hollywood Reporter’s Borys Kit backed up the story on Twitter as well. “Confirmed: J.J. Abrams will direct Star Wars Episode 7!” said Kit, “Sources say the negotiations quite down the road.”

J.J. Abrams was actually one of the very first directors rumored to be in the running for Star Wars Episode VII following the announcement that Disney had acquired Lucasfilm for over $4 billion. Abrams told Empire magazine in December, though, that while he talked with Lucasfilm, he was definitely not going to be doing the next Star Wars.

“There were the very early conversations [with Lucasfilm chief Kathleen Kennedy] and I quickly said that, because of my loyalty to Star Trek and also just being a fan, I wouldn’t even want to be involved in the next version of those things,” said Abrams, “I declined any involvement very early on. I’d rather be in the audience not knowing what was coming, rather than being involved in the minutiae of making them.”

Paramount Pictures and the newly rejuvenated Star Trek series will likely need to find a new steward going forward.

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