Another universe of sci-fi fans has been put in the hands of J.J. Abrams.

According to multiple reports, Abrams is set to direct the next instalment of Star Wars, which Disney has said will be Episode 7 and due out in 2015. Disney bought Star Wars maker Lucasfilm last month for $4.06 billion US.

The Emmy-award-winning director of the TV show Lost also captained the reboot of Star Trek for rival studio Paramount Pictures, with the next instalment in that series, Star Trek: Into Darkness, set to hit theatres May 17.

The news was reported earlier by Hollywood trade outlets The Wrap, The Hollywood Reporter and Daily Variety.

Soon after the news broke Thursday afternoon, websites were flush with chatter. On Twitter, "J.J. Abrams," "Star Wars" and "(hash)Star Trek" were all trending topics.

Abrams denied interest in directing the next Star Wars following The Walt Disney Co.'s October announcement it was buying Lucasfilm, but many people pegged him as the most obvious choice.

In addition to Lost, he produced Revolution and Fringe.

Abrams even spoke about the plot of the original Star Wars in the lecture series "TED Talks" in March 2007.

"He took the Star Trek franchise, which was just drowning in misery, and he was able to bring that back to life," said Adam Frazier a staff writer for the entertainment website GeeksofDoom.com. "If there's anyone that can do it with Star Wars I think it's him."