Star Trek director J. J. Abrams Photo: Jon Reid
According to film trade paper The Hollywood Reporter, J.J. Abrams is in the closing stages of talks to direct the Star Wars: Episode VII, the first Star Wars film produced by Disney since they purchased the franchise from George Lucas.
The story, which first appeared on The Wrap website, has since been confirmed by "three people close to the production" according to the LA Times.
Star Trek and Super 8 director Abrams is said to be in "late-stage" negotiations to the next instalment, which is being written by Michael Arndt who penned Toy Story 3, which is believed to focus on a new generation of heroes. It is believed appearances by Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher as Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia are still a possibility though.
The new chapter is set for a fast-tracked release in 2015 as part of a new trilogy, which will require a director to be confirmed very quickly.
Abrams's production company Bad Robot has not commented on the negotiations so far.
Disney purchased Lucas' Lucasfilm for $4 billion last year.
Abrams directed the 2009 Star Trek reboot and its upcoming sequel Star Trek Into Darkness, set for release in Australia in May this year. Abrams said in October that he wasn't interested in taking on Star Wars.
Star Trek was a huge box-office success, taking more than US$385 million worldwide. Any decision to direct a Star Wars film, will however throw into question his future with that franchise. This is not only due to the long standing (if mostly friendly) rivalry between the two camps, but more practically, through Star Wars scheduling commitments - in addition to his producing commitments on new Cloverfield and Mission: Impossible films, two other titles, as well as a touted Lance Armstrong biopic - making work on a third Star Trek movie impossible.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Disney CEO Bob Iger has made Star Wars a priority, saying last year that he envisions a new Star Wars-related movie about every two years, with the universe able to expand beyond the next trilogy through spin-off movies.
Confirmed Star Wars tragic Paul Verhoeven explains his tentative high hopes for an Abrams Star Wars here.