According to a source with knowledge of the situation, Abrams accepted the offer over actor-turned-director Ben Affleck, who has reportedly also been in talks for the project.
The 46-year-old director and screenwriter, who has previously been known for hit TV series such as “Lost,” “Alias” and “Felicity,” made his feature directorial debut with “Mission Impossible III” in 2006 and has since then been riding a wave of success. In 2009, Abrams went on to direct the blockbuster hit “Star Trek” before beginning work on its sequel, “Star Trek Into Darkness,” set to open in theaters on May 18.
But Abrams’ fierce allegiance to the “Star Trek” series originally seemed to leave him out of the running. In a December interview with Empire magazine, Abrams nixed rumors that he would be helming the next “Star Wars” installment, saying that he had sat in on preliminary talks but had little interest in participating.
"There were the very early conversations, and I quickly said [no] because of my loyalty to 'Star Trek' and also just being a fan," Abrams said, adding,“I'd rather be in the audience not knowing what was coming rather than being involved in the minutiae of making them."
He also confirmed to the publication that he had signed on to direct a third “Star Trek” movie after “Into Darkness.”
The news, which has already set Twitter abuzz, has yet to be confirmed by LucasFilm, BadRobot and CAA, the agency that represents Abrams.
“I grew up thinking it was impossible 2 love star wars & trek equally. is jj the one 2 bring balance to the force? #nerd” tweeted @baldeagle78
“Your nerd index is the number of tweets about JJ Abrams in your index divided by the number of minutes ago they arrived there,” Twitter user @drjenpierce wrote.