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JJ Abrams falls out of love with IMAX -- new Star Wars movie to be shot on film

Star Wars and Star Trek director JJ Abrams has finished the script for the next adventure in a galaxy far, far away, but has ruled out shooting in IMAX and digital.

"Star Wars" outtake
Filming the original Star Wars movies with Harrison Ford.
Video screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

"Star Wars" and "Star Trek" director JJ Abrams says "Star Wars Episode VII" is proceeding "full steam ahead," and although somewhere along the line, he's fallen out of love with IMAX he has confirmed the new film will be shot on film.

Speaking to press at the Television Critics Association, Abrams revealed that he's finished the script for Episode VII, which is in "deep pre-production." The director confirmed cinematographer Dan Mindel's plans to shoot Episode VII on film rather than on digital cameras, but he ruled out shooting the new film in IMAX format.

Abrams complains that "The problem with IMAX is it's a very loud camera, it's a very unreliable camera, there's only so much film that can be in the camera. You can't really do intimate scenes with it. It's slow. They break down often."

Harsh words -- especially after Abrams described IMAX as "my favorite format; I'm a huge fan" in 2011 while preparing to shoot parts of "Star Trek Into Darkness" in the oversized format. As recently as September, IMAX CEO Richard Gelfond hinted he was in talks with Abrams to film Episode VII in IMAX format.

Film may still be the thing long ago in a galaxy far, far away, but the future of movie theaters is definitely digital. The LA Times reports that Martin Scorsese's "The Wolf of Wall Street" is the first major studio movie to be given wide release in digital format. Paramount Studios is reported to have briefed theaters to keep schtum about the decision, after "Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues" quietly became the studio's final film to be sent out on 35mm film.

"Star Wars Episode VII" is slated to hit movie theatres on 18 December 2015. In the meantime Abrams has teamed up with Gravity director Alfonso Cuarón for NBC sci-fi show "Believe," featuring Jake McLaughlin, Delroy Lindo and Kyle MacLachlan.