It's official: Taylor Lautner will be Jacob in New Moon!

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Dec 14, 2012, 3:54 PM EST

Looks like Taylor Lautner dodged a silver bullet: Variety reported late today that he will indeed reprise the role of Native American werewolf Jacob Black in Summit Entertainment's Twilight sequel New Moon.

As we reported earlier, Lautner was holding out hope that rumors of his replacement were false.

Sure enough, Summit and New Moon director Chris Weitz made the announcement Wednesday that Lautner would join returning castmates Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson in the second installment of the vampire franchise, based on Stephenie Meyer's hit books.

In New Moon, Jacob Black becomes a central figure as Bella Swan (Stewart) is drawn into the world of the werewolves, the ancestral enemies of vampires.

Weitz acknowledged the speculation about whether Lautner could portray the character, who goes through many changes physically, including growing taller and bulkier and aging 10 years. The 16-year-old Lautner has been spending time in the gym, trying to add 19 pounds of muscle. Weitz added that Lautner is "emotionally right for the part," the trade paper reported.

New Moon set to begin production soon for a Nov. 20 release.