Explosive news (finally!) out of the ultra-secretive Star Wars: Episode VII camp today as it has been revealed that the Michael Arndt-penned script (from a presumed George Lucas-provided story outline) has been scrapped. Taking over writing duties now will be none other than Lawrence Kasdan and J.J. Abrams!
Kasdan, (long-revered as the co-writer of the most beloved entry in the Star Wars franchise, 1980’s The Empire Strikes Back) and Abrams are assuming the responsibility of writing the next film from the Academy award-winning Arndt (Little Miss Sunshine), who was assigned the hot Star Wars property last November. The announcement comes as a major shocker as Arndt was announced as the sole screenwriter for Episode VII and was said to be also working on story treatments for both Episodes VIII and IX.
Speaking to Starwars.com, Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy had this to say regarding today’s surprising announcement:
I am very excited about the story we have in place and thrilled to have Larry and J.J. working on the script. There are very few people who fundamentally understand the way a ‘Star Wars’ story works like Larry, and it is nothing short of incredible to have him even more deeply involved in its return to the big screen. J.J. of course is an incredible storyteller in his own right. Michael Arndt has done a terrific job bringing us to this point and we have an amazing filmmaking and design team in place already prepping for production.
Bringing Kasdan aboard is a masterstroke, as his early-eighties work attests. Whether it was the dark and sinister undertones with which he infused The Empire Strikes Back (alongside Leigh Brackett), the effortless ease with which he made us believe in a whip-snapping, globe-trotting archaeologist in Raiders of the Lost Ark, or his intimate portrayal of former college friends gathering for a weekend of remembrance in 1983’s The Big Chill, Kasdan’s screenplays are legendary and his involvement in the further evolution of Star Wars: Episode VII is certain to cause elation amongst Star Wars fans the world over.
How and if these latest developments will affect the scheduled May 2015 release date for Episode VII remains unclear. With principal photography now scheduled to begin in spring 2014 (as opposed to the previously announced start date of January 2014), the possibility exists that this intriguing behind-the-scenes manoeuvring may see the film relocated from its originally scheduled early summer 2015 release date to one closer to the holidays. Or, could this latest unexpected creative salvo force the film to be pushed back to 2016?
There’s never a dull moment when it comes to reporting on Star Wars rumors and today is no exception! Let us know what you think in the comments about Abrams and Kasdan penning Star Wars: Episode VII.