JJ Abrams to direct `Star Wars: Episode VII`

Updated: Jan 27, 2013, 08:45 AM IST

Los Angeles: The `Star Trek` director JJ Abrams has closed a deal to direct the installment of the Star Wars franchise.

Abrams will work with writer Michael Arndt to develop the script after finalising a deal with Disney to come aboard Episode VII of the sci-fi series, the Hollywood Reporter said.

Landing Abrams for the high-profile franchise is a coup for Disney and Lucasfilm`s new chief Kathleen Kennedy.

"It`s very exciting to have JJ aboard leading the charge as we set off to make a new Star Wars movie," said Kennedy.

"JJ is 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."

Abrams, however, had said in November that he wasn`t interested in taking over the venerable franchise from creator George Lucas but apparently agreed after being contacted by Kennedy.

`Episode VII` is set for release in 2015, but sources say Abrams has not committed to that release date, meaning the date could be changed if the development process requires it.