Update: Deadline’s picked up the story, confirming with a source “It’s done deal with J.J.” So there you have it. When Disney makes the official announcement, we’ll have it here.
This news has spread like wildfire today and without confirmation from Disney I’m almost loath to report it, so for the time being let’s treat this as speculation at best. If Disney or any involved parties update us, we’ll let you know. That said:
The Wrap is reporting that JJ Abrams is locked in as the director of Star Wars Episode VII.
They go on to report that Abrams beat out a list of directors that included Ben Affleck. If the news proves true, and I’m highly suspicious, then this means Abrams will have had a hand in the two most enduring franchises in science fiction. It also means that Star Trek Into Darkness is likely to be his last foray with Kirk & Co. Whatever cushy pull he had at Paramount (of which he had a lot) is likely moot as well now.
I can’t say I’m a fan of the decision, and I’m certainly not looking forward to all the new lens flare jokes in our immediate future. More than that, Disney could have done better here, as I’m not convinced Abrams is right for this. He’s a fine storyteller who by my count has only ever made one potentially great film*. That doesn’t mean that he won’t someday be a great filmmaker, but whatever progress he made with Trek took a helluva step back with the middling and poorly constructed Super 8. JJ’s at his best when he doesn’t have to contend with appeasing his own personal influences. His homage to Spielberg was lacking. Can we expect better if he’s seriously taking the reigns of a franchise he himself says is his most influential?
*I’m unabashed in my love of the Trek reboot.