In 2009, Abrams told the Los Angeles Times: "As a kid, 'Star Wars' was much more my thing than 'Star Trek' was."
In Friday night's statement he called it an "absolute honor" to get the job.
"I may be even more grateful to George Lucas now than I was as a kid," Abrams said.
Lucas himself said in the statement that "I've consistently been impressed with J.J. as a filmmaker and storyteller. He's an ideal choice to direct the new Star Wars film and the legacy couldn't be in better hands."