THR reports that J.J. Abrams is closing in on a deal to direct the next Star Wars film for Disney Studios. The Star Trek director is negotiating to direct Star Wars: Episode VII, the next installment in the seminal sci-fi franchise. According to reports, Disney, which purchased George Lucas’ Lucasfilm for $4 billion last year, is fast-tracking a new Star Wars film for release in 2015, in order to jumpstart a new trilogy. Toy Story 3 screenwriter Michael Arndt is penning the script, which is said to focus on a new generation of heroes and may feature appearances by Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher in older incarnations of their beloved characters from the original Star Wars trilogy.
Abrams, who has drawn comparisons to Steven Spielberg, directed the 2009 Star Trek reboot and its upcoming sequel. He said in October that he wasn’t interested in taking on Star Wars, but has apparently changed his mind. Disney CEO Bob Iger has made Star Wars a priority at the company. He told investors last year that he envisions a new Star Wars-related movie about every two years, and the universe could expand beyond a new trilogy to spinoff film projects.
I’m still waiting to hear word on the long-in-development live-action television series.