‘Star Wars’ And J.J. Abrams: The Inside Story Revealed

Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy aggressively pursued 'Star Trek' director in December, according to a new report.

One of the biggest mysteries in recent Hollywood history was solved on January 25, when J.J. Abrams was revealed as the director of “Star Wars: Episode VII.” But how did the deal come to pass?

An article published by The Hollywood Reporter goes into specific details of the deal that brought Abrams over to the dark side of the Force, better known across the world as the “Star Wars” franchise. Though Abrams is a lifelong “Star Wars” fan, the filmmaker reportedly had “very genuine concerns” about helming the seventh theatrical “Star Wars” movie, including his commitments to other projects — like the sci-fi franchise’s rival, “Star Trek Into Darkness,” for instance.

But during a December meeting with Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy at his Bad Robot office, Abrams was reportedly won over by the veteran producer’s very simple, straightforward plea: “Please do ‘Star Wars.’”

“I learned firsthand how incredible and persuasive she is,” Abrams says of the meeting. “The thing about any pre-existing franchise — I’d sort of done that … but when I met with Kathy, it was suddenly very tantalizing.”

Kennedy tells THR that the involvement of “Toy Story 3″ writer Michael Arndt and original “Star Wars” player Lawrence Kasdan left Abrams “flipping out” and “on the ceiling when I walked out the door.” But the filmmaker still needed convincing before committing to the project.

“If there was any pause on J.J.’s part, it was the same pause everybody has — including myself — stepping into this,” says Kennedy. “Which is, it’s daunting.”

In the end, Abrams agreed to venture off to that galaxy far, far away, ultimately won over by “how meaningful ‘Star Wars’ is and the depth of the mythology that George has created and how we carry that into the next chapter,” according to Kennedy. But one widely-publicized detail about the movie might no longer be true: reports to the contrary, “Star Wars: Episode VII” might not be ready in time for a 2015 release.

“Our goal is to move as quickly as we can, and we’ll see what happens,” says Kennedy. “The timetable we care about is getting the story.”

Check out everything we’ve got on “Star Wars: Episode VII.”

Likes pizza, punch and pie. Dislikes the Chitauri.
@roundhoward