The news that began circulating on Thursday (January 25) afternoon is finally official: Walt Disney Studios announced on Friday evening that J.J. Abrams will direct "Star Wars: Episode VII."
 
As was previously announced, Oscar winner Michael Arndt is scripting the film, which will be produced for Disney by Lucasfilm under the leadership of Kathleen Kennedy. Writers Lawrence Kasdan and Simon Kinberg are officially described as "consulting" on the project.
 
The formal confirmation of what everybody in the media reported the day before at least came with enthusiastic statements in praise of Abrams from a couple important people.
 
"I’ve consistently been impressed with J.J. as a filmmaker and storyteller.  He’s an ideal choice to direct the new 'Star Wars' film and the legacy couldn’t be in better hands," blurbs George Lucas.
 
Adds Kennedy, "It’s very exciting to have J.J. aboard leading the charge as we set off to make a new Star Wars movie. J.J. 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, currently putting the finishing touches on "Star Trek Into Darkness," will also come on board as producer along with his Bad Robot partner Bryan Burk.
 
"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," J.J. Abrams states. "I may be even more grateful to George Lucas now than I was as a kid."
 
Other directing credits for Abrams include the third "Mission: Impossible" film, "Super 8" and the pilot for "Lost."