So, this wasn’t the Star Wars news we were expecting. After weeks of rumoured release dates, working titles and casting news, Disney has announced that director J.J. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan have taken over screenwriting duties on Episode VII from original scribe Michael Arndt (Toy Story 3).
The news was reported on StarWars.com.
In a statement on the site, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy wrote: “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.”
Arndt was brought on board to write the new Star Wars film in November 2012, with a storyline that was said to focus on the children of Han Solo, Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker.
Kasdan is a Lucasfilm veteran having penned the screenplay for Raiders of the Lost Ark and co-written both The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. He is also set to write either Episode VIII or Episode IX.
Simon Kinberg (X-Men: Days of Future Past) will also have some involvement in one of the later films.
According to StarWars.com, location scouting, production design, casting, and costume design are all underway on Episode VII, and shooting will commence next spring for a 2015 release.
Casting has yet to be announced, but during an appearance on the U.K.’s Graham Norton show, Harrison Ford and Benedict Cumberbatch wouldn’t deny rumours that they’ll be appearing in the new film.
While we wait for real casting news, check out the trailer for Revenge of the Jedi, which is what Return of the Jedi was called before George Lucas had a change of heart.