Disney confirms it: J.J. Abrams is officially directing the next Star Wars movie

The ink is now dry on the contracts and it's official: J.J. Abrams will be directing Star Wars: Episode VII. After the flurry of unofficial reports, Disney has issued a press release confirming that Abrams is on board to direct the Michael Arndt-scripted Star Wars film.

Here's the requisite backslapping from the press release:

"It's very exciting to have J.J. aboard leading the charge as we set off to make a new Star Wars movie," said [Lucasfilm president Kathleen] Kennedy. "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. He understands the essence of the Star Wars experience, and will bring that talent to create an unforgettable motion picture."

George Lucas went on to say "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."

"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," J.J. Abrams said. "I may be even more grateful to George Lucas now than I was as a kid."

The press release also adds that Abrams, his producing partner Bryan Burk, and Bad Robot will be producing the movie with Kennedy and Disney, and that Lawrence Kasdan, screenwriter on The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, and Raiders of the Lost Ark, will be consulting, as will Simon Kinberg, screenwriter on Sherlock Holmes and Mr. and Mrs. Smith.