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Director Abrams to helm new Star Wars

Updated: 2013-01-28 17:12

Director Abrams to helm new Star Wars

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.

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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

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.

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