Kathleen Kennedy talks J.J. Abrams Star Wars appointment

J.J. Abrams’ unveiling as the new Star Wars director came as something of a surprise given the filmmaker’s furious denials that any such deal could come about, but Kathleen Kennedy has spilled the beans on just how she managed to persuade him to take the gig.

Abrams had publicly stated that he would rather remain a fan of the Star Wars series, but when Kennedy made her approach, Abrams was apparently swayed by the fact that screenwriter Michael Arndt and producer Lawrence Kasdan were already involved.

“J.J. was flipping out when he found out that Michael and Larry were on the movie already,” says Kennedy of the three-hour meeting that took place in secret back in December. “J.J. was just on the ceiling when I walked out the door.”

However, there were still fears concerning his other commitments to allay, and so Kennedy turned to her ace-card: the ability to play on a fanboy’s love for the series.

“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,” says Kennedy. Not that she was being cynical about it, or anything…

However, the proposed 2015 release date is thought to have been a sticking point with Abrams, and it sounds as though the director may have got his own way on that score.

“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.” Watch this space…

George Wales

George was once GamesRadar's resident movie news person, based out of London. He understands that all men must die, but he'd rather not think about it. But now he's working at Stylist Magazine.