In This Star Wars Reporting Episode, Much of the Deserved Credit Gets Lost

The biggest Hollywood film scoop of this young year was posted Thursday at 1:33 p.m PT on TheWrap. While a number of Lucas Shaw‘s peers were immediate and effusive with Twitter praise, large chunks of the pick-up coverage about J.J. Abrams being tapped to direct the next-generation installment of Star Wars failed to credit TheWrap and this hard-working media reporter.

It’s a dog-eat-dog world in the trenches of THR, Variety, TheWrap and Deadline, with each being guilty at various times of co-opting film scoops by “confirming,” referencing same-subsequent “documents obtained”, slapping on a questionable EXCLUSIVE and so on. But a scoop of the magnitude of Shaw’s should have been exempt from the usual ticky-tack catch-up tricks.

Although Sharon Waxman in the tweet above sent her thanks to the wrong Brooks Barnes, her inference is valid all the same. If the New York Times, EW and Variety (added after initial item-publication) saw no issue with crediting TheWrap, why couldn’t Deadline and The Hollywood Reporter do the same?

Shaw told FishbowlLA via telephone this morning that he did not pay too much attention to the journo Twitter chatter and that he is content with the knowledge that he broke the news. The only thing that irritates him, rightly, is that The Drudge Report linked to Deadline’s item about the Abrams deal, depriving TheWrap of an important fedora H/T and substantial Web traffic.

Perhaps the fact that everyone was on the trail of this story since the Disney announcement of more Star Wars films made some outlets feel extra-entitled to TheWrap scoop. “At a certain point within the last month or so, I had heard that Abrams was likely or at least that they were having a conversation,” Shaw explains. “I wanted to sit on it, till I felt comfortable, or at least wait until any deal wouldn’t be impacted. Finally, yesterday, I touched base with the requisite parties to both cover my butt and also give them an opportunity to deny. They didn’t.”

The best Shaw shout-out we saw came from Jason Gorber, a Toronto-based contributor to Twitch Film who noted that the reporter’s name is a combination of George LUCAS and Sebastian SHAW, the late actor who played Anakin Skywalker at the end of Return of the Jedi.

Update – 01/25/13: Late Friday, Disney confirmed the hiring of Abrams for Episode VII via this official statement:

J.J. Abrams will direct Star Wars: Episode VII, the first of a new series of Star Wars films to come from Lucasfilm under the leadership of Kathleen Kennedy. Abrams will be directing and Academy Award-winning writer Michael Arndt will write the screenplay.

“It’s very exciting to have J.J. aboard leading the charge as we set off to make a new Star Wars movie,” said Kennedy. “J.J. is the perfect director to helm this. Beyond having such great instincts as a filmmaker, he has an intuitive understanding of this franchise. He understands the essence of the Star Wars experience, and will bring that talent to create an unforgettable motion picture.”

George Lucas went on to say “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.”

“To be a part of the next chapter of the Star Wars saga, to collaborate with Kathy Kennedy and this remarkable group of people, is an absolute honor,” J.J. Abrams said. “I may be even more grateful to George Lucas now than I was as a kid.”

J.J., his longtime producing partner Bryan Burk, and Bad Robot are on board to produce along with Kathleen Kennedy under the Disney | Lucasfilm banner.

Also consulting on the project are Lawrence Kasdan and Simon Kinberg. Kasdan has a long history with Lucasfilm, as screenwriter on The Empire Strikes Back, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Return of the Jedi. Kinberg was writer on Sherlock Holmes and Mr. and Mrs. Smith.

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