It’s kind of a good news/bad news situation for the new Star Wars film, Episode VII. The bad news is that Michael Arndt is no longer writing the screenplay. However, his work has not been for nothing, as they are merely taking over from where he left off. It’s also likely that they’ll go back through everything he’s written, making changes whenever and wherever necessary. We probably won’t know until the film gets closer to release whether Arndt will be credited in any way.
The good news is that J.J. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan are the writers that are taking over the screenwriting duties. J.J. Abrams is, of course, the creator of many of the best TV shows of the last decade. Lawrence Kasdan is a name that, if you know Star Wars history, you’ll recognize as the screenwriter for The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi and Raiders of the Lost Ark. It’s been a while since his words have been spoken in a Star Wars film, and kind of sad that he didn’t get to take a few passes on each of the Star Wars prequels. However, that is changing with the upcoming Star Wars: Episode VII. Kasdan is now at work on the new film, and I couldn’t be more excited about it than I am now.
With J.J. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan writing, and J.J. directing, Star Wars couldn’t be in better hands than it is right now. Perhaps this will bring a new face to all areas of Star Wars. While Revenge of the Sith had the best screenplay, dialog and storyline of the prequels, the first two films had a lasting effect on The Clone Wars animated series. The writing did get better as the show went along, but the dialog really matched the first two prequels quite well. It’s my hope that the new films help to change the way that the characters talk to each other, bringing it closer to the rest of the saga in style.
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“), production designers Rick Carter (“Lincoln,” “Avatar“) and Darren Gilford (“Oblivion,” “TRON: Legacy“), costume designer Michael Kaplan (“Star Trek Into Darkness,” “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol“), special effects supervisor Chris Corbould (“Skyfall,” “The Dark Knight Rises“), sound designer Ben Burtt (“Lincoln,” “Star Wars: Episodes I-VI“), re-recording mixer Gary Rydstrom (“Jurassic Park,” “Saving Private Ryan“), supervising sound editor Matthew Wood (“Star Trek Into Darkness,” “The Master“) of Skywalker Sound, and visual effects supervisor Roger Guyett (“Star Trek Into Darkness,” “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End“) of Industrial Light & Magic. Kathleen Kennedy, J.J. Abrams, and Bryan Burk are producing, with Tommy Harper (“Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol,” “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.