The news that J.J Abrams is to direct Star Wars Episode VII came as quite a surprise; not because of his credentials, but because he said he wouldn't do it. So how did this unlikely partnership come about?

Well, it was primarily down to Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy's powers of persuasion, as she - at his Bad Robot offices - asked him, quite succinctly: "Please do 'Star Wars.'" It was that simple, well, sort of.  I learned first hand how incredible and persuasive she is," Abrams says of the meeting. "The thing about any pre-existing franchise -- I'd sort of done that ... but when I met with Kathy, it was suddenly very tantalizing."

According to MTV, Abrams was "flipping out" and "on the ceiling when [Kennedy] walked out the door" due to the involvement of Toy Story 3" writer Michael Arndt and original "Star Wars" player Lawrence Kasdan. "If there was any pause on J.J.'s part, it was the same pause everybody has -- including myself -- stepping into this," says Kennedy. "Which is, it's daunting."

Abrams finally agreed to get on board due to "how meaningful 'Star Wars' is and the depth of the mythology that George has created and how we carry that into the next chapter." Kennedy added, "Our goal is to move as quickly as we can, and we'll see what happens. The timetable we care about is getting the story."