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    Josh Trank Directing Star Wars Stand-Alone Film; J.J. Abrams Hopes to End Episode VII Set Photo Leaks

    Josh Trank Mark Davis/WireImage

    May the force be with you, Josh Trank.

    The filmmaker has been tapped to direct a Star Wars stand-alone film, Disney and Lucasfilm confirm.

    "We're thrilled to welcome Josh into the family," Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy said in a statement Wednesday. "He is such an incredible talent and has a great imagination and sense of innovation. That makes him perfectly suited to Star Wars, and for this new slate of movies that reach beyond the core characters and storylines of Episodes I through IX."

    Trank also issued a statement after his hiring was made public. "The magic of the Star Wars universe defined my entire childhood," said the filmmaker, who helmed 2012's Chronicle. "The opportunity to expand on that experience for future generations is the most incredible dream of all time."

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    In late May, Godzilla's Gareth Edwards was hired to direct the first stand-alone film in the franchise, which is slated to hit theaters on Dec. 16, 2016. Due to the high level of secrecy surrounding the Star Wars development process, it is unclear which spinoffs directors Trank and Edwards will bring to life.

    Meanwhile, Star Wars: Episode VII director J.J. Abrams took to Twitter Wednesday to plead with websites that have been publishing unauthorized set photos and spreading rumors that claimed to reveal various plot details. In a handwritten note, he pleaded, "I wish people would stop leaking photos from Episode VII. And making ridiculous claims that the Millennium Falcon is in the movie. JJ."

    The note, we should add, appears to be sitting on top of what looks to be the Dejarik gameboard from the original Star Wars film, which, you may remember, was located inside the Millennium Falcon. So there's that.

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    JJ Abrams, Twitter Twitter

    Abrams' Star Wars features returning stars Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill. New cast members include John Boyega, Gwendoline Christie, Adam Driver, Domhnall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong'o, Daisy Ridley, Andy Serkis and Max von Sydow.

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