4:49 pm EST, January 24, 2013

J.J. Abrams will direct ‘Star Wars: Episode VII’

Entertainment website The Wrap broke news today that director J.J. Abrams is in final talks to direct Star Wars: Episode VII.

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“Lucasfilm Chief Kathleen Kennedy has been courting Abrams,” reports the site.

Numerous sources are independently confirmed the news as a done deal. Slashfilm says Spielberg was instrumental in convincing Abrams, and other directors under consideration included Ben Affleck and Matthew Vaughn.

Abrams had denied any such involvement when rumors first surfaced in November of last year. In fact, Abrams explained recently that he wanted to be surprised with the plot like fellow fans will: “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.”

An official announcement has not yet been made by either party, but it appears imminent at this point.

The director is best known right now for his successful rebirth of the Star Trek franchise thanks to the 2009 film of the same name. He also led the creation of LOST, Alias, and Fringe under his production company Bad Robot. He is currently in the midst of finishing up the highly-anticipated sequel Into Darkness, which is due to hit theaters this May.

Michael Arndt is penning the Episode 7 script.

This is undoubtedly huge news for the franchise, and it’s hard to argue that there’d be any choice better than Abrams. He is a man of the nerd population and will definitely succeed in pleasing the Star Wars fans who have been unsure of new Star Wars films.

Disney acquired Lucasfilm in October, and on the same day announced Star Wars Episodes 7 through 9.

We’ll update with Disney’s formal announcement once it’s made. In the mean time, enjoy this look back at Mickey Mouse and George Lucas’ long running relationship.

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