J.J. Abrams is being reported as the director of Star Wars: Episode VII by numerous sources. The most important story comes from The Hollywood Reporter, which notes that the “director is negotiating to direct Episode VII“. As Variety also points out, Abrams is simply “nearing a deal”. I can’t stress enough how important this single piece of information is.
Why hasn’t Disney or Lucasfilm made any official announcement yet, while the rest of the entertainment world is acting like this is a done deal? Because until Abrams puts his signature on that contract, there is no guarantee. The man could be sitting in a conference room with every big wig from Lucasfilm and Disney, plotting out the entire production process, but until he puts his John Hancock on that paper, there won’t be an official confirmation.
I don’t know a whole lot about how the “reporting rumors for films” business operates, but I am inclined to admit to doing my fair share of observing sports reporting. This situation is one that I’ve seen many times in the sports industry. Here’s one specific example.
Hedo Turkoglu is an NBA player for the Orlando Magic. In 2009, Hedo became a free agent. That means that, during the offseason, he had the ability to sign with the NBA team of his choice. Free agency is all about being courted (just as we’re being told that Kennedy has done with Abrams) by different franchises. Turkoglu had two in particular show interest – the Portland Trailblazers and the Toronto Raptors.
Look at this report from that year. Multiple sources were confirming that the Turkish basketball star had agreed in principal to a deal with Toronto. When a deal is reported as being “agreed to in principal” in sports, it goes through. The player signs. You consider the deal to be done when you read that kind of report.
Turkoglu gave a verbal commitment to Portland on that Thursday in 2009. By Friday morning, he had changed his mind and signed with Toronto instead. As ESPN says, “Turkoglu’s about-face sent shockwaves throughout the NBA”. That kind of report of a deal just doesn’t fall through. The signature seems like just a formality. But it’s not.
J.J. Abrams could be Hedo Turkoglu. Every major outlet is acting like this thing is signed, sealed, and delivered, but as far as we know, it isn’t even signed yet.
I don’t think it is just a rumor that Abrams has entered contract talks with Disney. All of the signs point to that being true. But just like with Turkoglu, it’s not final yet. J.J. Abrams is the director of Star Wars: Episode VII when Lucasfilm officially announces it. Until then, don’t get your hopes up. There’s got to be ink on the page.
Hedo Turkoglu is still booed in Portland every single time that he plays there. If the deal with Abrams falls through, Star Wars fans shouldn’t have that attitude towards the director. It’s nothing personal – it’s just business.