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Executive producer J.J. Abrams takes part in a panel discussion of NBC Universal's series "Revolution" during the 2013 Winter Press Tour for the Television Critics Association in Pasadena, California, January 6, 2013. [Photo/Agencies]
Sci-fi filmmaker J.J. Abrams will direct "Star Wars: Episode VII," Walt Disney Co said after days of speculation, giving hope to many long-suffering fans who were disappointed by the last three installments in the iconic franchise.
The announcement was greeted with celebrations on online networks by the films' army of enthusiasts who have already watched Abrams rescue the aging "Star Trek" series with a high-grossing prequel in 2009.
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Disney said late on Friday Abrams would work under the leadership of producer Kathleen Kennedy, the former president of Lucasfilm, and the script would be penned by Oscar-winning writer Michael Arndt.
"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," Kennedy said in a statement on starwars.com.
Fans were equally enthusiastic. "JJ Abrams to the rescue!!! Yes!! #starwarsVII," wrote Jonny Radtke (@JonnyRadtke) on Twitter.
"Great news about JJ Abrams directing Star Wars. Might just rescue the brand...," added Alastair Brookshaw (@albrookshaw).
Rumors that Abrams, one of Hollywood's most successful directors and producers, would take stewardship of the films filled industry publications and online forums over the past week.