'Toy Story 3' & 'Catching Fire' Writer Tapped for 'Star Wars: Episode VII'
Well, there you have it. This is a big scoop we've been sitting on for a few days, waiting to get double confirmation instead of running it as a wild rumor, and now Vulture has put the word out. Michael Arndt, the Oscar-winning writer behind Toy Story 3, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Little Miss Sunshine has been tapped by Disney and Lucasfilm to script Star Wars: Episode VII. The screenwriter has turned in a 40-to-50 page treatment for the long-anticipated sequel, but he might not be the only writer attached to the project by the time the film goes in front of cameras (but no other names have surfaced yet). Read on!
Arndt is a solid choice, even if his experience isn't expansive. He's one of the hottest screenwriters in town, having penned The Hunger Games sequel and the forthcoming sci-fi film Oblivion with Tom Cruise in the lead and Tron Legacy director Joseph Kosinski at the helm. And his love for Star Wars and screenwriting simultaneously has been observes as Vulture points out he has, "lectured extensively on the art of storytelling at numerous writers’ retreats, like the Hawaii Writers Conference in Maui and the Austin Film Festival." Apparently he uses Star Wars as an example to enlighten. One attendee at the Austin lecture noted in some comments online about Arndt's remarks:
"Arndt stated that if a writer could resolve the story's arcs (internal, external, philosophical) immediately after the Moment of Despair at the climax, he or she would deliver the Insanely Great Ending and put the audience in a euphoric state. The faster it could happen, the better. By [Arndt’s] reckoning, George Lucas hit those three marks at the climax of Star Wars within a space of 22 seconds."
Just goes to show you how near-perfect a film the original Star Wars was in 1977. We give George Lucas a hard time today, but he definitely deserves credit where credit is due. Anyway, it's said that the treatment will be handed out to some directors sometime soon and the unsurprising names of J.J. Abrams and Steven Spielberg are mentioned, and also Brad Bird, our favorite choice who just had a nice campaign video arrive online in his favor as well. This doesn't really mean anything yet since Disney is obviously going to try all the obvious big name directors first, but it's just a matter of having any of them bite. We've even heard Christopher Nolan has been approached, but that's all for now.
In addition, some news that Vulture heard that we hadn't mentions that Disney is very keen on bringing back a much older Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Princess Leia for the sequel, but it's not clear how involved their roles would be to the new trilogy. No deals are in place yet, but we did just hear that Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher would all be up for reprising their roles, should the time come. It's not clear if Arndt will write the full screenplay for Episode VII or if he's just the jumping off point for another writer, but the wheels are moving pretty quickly, and we'll try to keep you updated.
UPDATE: Deadline has word that Arndt's treatment is for the entire new trilogy and he will start writing the actual screenplay for Episode VII next year. That's pretty exciting. That means the whole story arc has been planned for Episodes VII, VIII and IX. Man, it's a great time to be a Star Wars fan again.