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So, J.J. Abrams is directing "Star Wars Episode VII"?

According to the Wrap, the filmmaker will be taking on the next chapter in the series. This contradicts earlier reports where Abrams stated he had turned it down.

"I quickly said that because of my loyalty to 'Star Trek,' and also just being a fan, I wouldn't even want to be involved in the next version of those things," Abrams told Empire Magazine back in December. "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."

Ever since Disney announced their $4 billion acquisition of LucasFilm last year -- which included plans for a new "Star Wars" by 2015 -- rumors have run rampant over who would be directing the new movie, with names like Brad Bird and Joss Whedon thrown out there. (TheWrap states that Ben Affleck was considered at one point.)

This would be a pretty surprising move from Abrams, who has already taken on the "Star Trek" franchise, along with its follow up, "Star Trek Into Darkness," which hits theaters later this year. If Abrams did accept the job, he would join Michael Ardnt ("Little Miss Sunshine," "Toy Story 3") who has already been hired to write the screenplay.

LucasFilm has declined to comment on the TheWrap's story, so we'll update this post when we hear something more definitive.

UPDATE: Via i09, Deadline has said that its a done deal, and the Hollywood Reporter's Borys Kit is also confirming the news.

UPDATE 2: It's official. In a statement released by Disney, Abrams said "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. I may be even more grateful to George Lucas now than I was as a kid."

Lucas added "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."

[via TheWrap]

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