In a shocking turn of events Oscar winning screenwriter Michael Arndt (Little Miss Sunshine, Toy Story 3) has exited Star Wars Episode VII. The news was confirmed today by Lucasfilm via their official website. The accomplished writer was hired by Lucasfilm to develop a script for the seventh installment of the franchise. Which would be based on an older outline from Star Wars creator George Lucas. The script will be finished by longtime Star Wars screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan (Raiders of The Lost Ark, Empire Strikes Back, Return of The Jedi) and director J.J. Abrams (MI3, Super 8, Lost) . Producer Kathleen Kennedy had a few words on the new writing team. Lucasfilm confirms a Spring 2014 production start with a 2015 release date.
A Spring/Summer 2015 had originally been eyed for the film. After this delay in the script’s completion it’s looking like December 2015 might be more a likely slot which had been suggested by BadassDigest a few weeks back. Casting announcements have yet to be made but there is rumors that those will be revealed within the next couple of weeks. Lawrence is an excellent writer and worked on two of the original films, so having him involved could be an excellent addition. He was actually added to the production team a long time before this news. Simon Kinberg (X3, Fantastic Four Reboot, X-Men Days of Future Past) and Lawrence were brought on as franchise producers. Their duties would also include screenwriting tasks. The assumption at the time the pair would focus their writing efforts on the sequels and spin-offs.
As Episode VII continues pre-production, Lawrence Kasdan and director J.J. Abrams have assumed screenwriting duties for the film. Kasdan, who has been serving as a consultant on the film, is a veteran of several classic Lucasfilm productions, writing the screenplay for Raiders of the Lost Ark and serving as co-screenwriter for The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Acclaimed director and screenwriter Abrams’ credits include Super 8, Mission: Impossible III, Fringe, and Lost.
“I am very excited about the story we have in place and thrilled to have Larry and J.J. working on the script,” states Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy. “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.”
Location scouting, production design, casting, and costume design are already underway on Episode VII. A team of gifted artists are working to bring the latest installment of the Star Wars saga, including director of photography Dan Mindel (Mission: Impossible III, Star Trek, Star Trek Into Darkness), production designers Rick Carter (Lincoln, Avatar, Forrest Gump) and Darren Gilford (Oblivion, TRON: Legacy), costume designer Michael Kaplan (Star Trek Into Darkness, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, Fight Club),special effects supervisor Chris Corbould (Skyfall, The Dark Knight Rises, Inception), sound designer Ben Burtt (Lincoln, Wall-E, Star Wars: Episodes I-VI), re-recording mixer Gary Rydstrom (Jurassic Park, Saving Private Ryan, Toy Story, Mission: Impossible -Ghost Protocol), supervising sound editor Matthew Wood (Star Trek Into Darkness,The Master, There Will Be Blood) of Skywalker Sound, and visual effects supervisor Roger Guyett (Star Trek Into Darkness, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith) of Industrial Light & Magic. Kathleen Kennedy, J.J. Abrams, and Bryan Burk are producing, with Tommy Harper (Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, Jack Ryan, Star Trek Into Darkness) and Jason McGatlin (Tintin,War of the Worlds) serving as executive producers. John Williams is returning to score Star Wars: Episode VII.
Shooting is scheduled to begin Spring 2014 at Pinewood Studios for an expected 2015 release.