I was excited and surprised when news hit that J.J. Abrams was going to direct Star Wars: Episode VII. I didn't think he was even an option, because he said he wasn't interested in directing it, and he already had the Star Trek franchise to work on. He's the right man for the job though!
In a recent interview with THR Lucasfilm CEO Kathleen Kennedy revealed how she got Abrams to change his mind and jump on board. Abrams said that "I learned firsthand how incredible and persuasive she is. 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 went on to talk about her meetings with Abrams, saying that they and the writers met secretly for about three hours on December 19th, and she says that "J.J. was just on the ceiling when I walked out the door." She went on to explain that Abrams had some "'very genuine concerns' about his obligations elsewhere and the impact on his wife and three kids, given the likelihood that the film would not be shot in Los Angeles. And then there was the unique nature of the franchise. If there was any pause on J.J.'s part, it was the same pause everybody has -- including myself -- stepping into this. Which is, it's daunting."
She ended up winning him over though, she summarized her pitch as simply... "Please do Star Wars." Kennedy added, "We spent a lot of time talking about how meaningful Star Wars is and the depth of the mythology that George has created and how we carry that into the next chapter. Our goal is to move as quickly as we can, and we'll see what happens. The timetable we care about is getting the story."
There's also a bit of trivia revealed in the article that I thought was cool. Kennedy has known Abrams since he was 14-years-old. Steven Spielberg read an article about him winning a Super 8 moviemaking contest and he ended up hiring the young Abrams to restore his own childhood Super 8 videos. How cool is that?!
Well, I'm sure that the fanboy and fangirl world couldn't be happier that Kennedy was able to talk Abrams into making the movie. It's in the right hands.