‘Star Wars: Episode 7′ Story Already Finished By ‘Toy Story 3′ Writer [Updated]

Published 2 years ago by , Updated February 16th, 2014 at 9:23 am,

star wars 7 writer Star Wars: Episode 7 Story Already Finished By Toy Story 3 Writer [Updated]

UPDATE 2: Lucasfilm has confirmed that Michael Arndt is writing the Star Wars: Episode VII script. Scroll down for even more information.

UPDATE: Michael Arndt is now reported to have written a treatment for Star Wars: Episodes VII-IX.

It didn’t take long for the Star Wars rumor mill to start functioning at full capacity again, once the Walt Disney company formerly announced that it is purchasing Lucasfilm from George Lucas and plans to release a third trilogy beginning with Episode VII in 2015. The news broke over 10 days ago now, but people around Hollywood are still reeling from the unexpected news; not to mention, the easily-excitable Internet masses have gone into overdrive, debating the benefits and drawbacks of this development (in ways both serious and not-so-serious).

We heard some rumors about prospective directors for Episode VII earlier on this week, with candidates including Colin Trevorrow (Safety Not Guaranteed) and Matthew Vaughn (X-Men: First Class). However, today we have a nice juicy rumor about who has written the screen story for the new installment.

Mark Hamill revealed last week that plans for a new Star Wars trilogy have been developing for over a year now, so it would make sense for a story treatment for Episode VII to have been written by now (seeing how we’ve heard the plan is to cover a new original story). Vulture has been told by its “informed sources” that such a 40-50 page treatment has indeed been finished, by none other than Oscar-winner Michael Arndt.

Arndt won his Academy Award for scripting Little Miss Sunshine; some four years later, he picked up an additional Oscar nod for his Toy Story 3 screenplay. He has since contributed to the scripts for the upcoming Tom Cruise sci-fi thriller Oblivion and Hunger Games sequel Catching Fire, as well as Pixar director Peter Docter’s followup to Up (with the playful working title The Untitled Pixar Movie That Takes You Inside the Mind). Hence, it would make perfect sense for Disney and LucasFilm to recruit Arndt to write up a story treatment for Episode VII, given his established relationship with the Mouse House (in combination with his stellar output to date).

Michael Arndt also co-wrote the script for ‘Catching Fire’

Arndt’s history lends further credibility to this Episode VII rumor, as he’s overseen numerous writers’ retreats in the past; specifically, ones where he traditionally breaks down and examines the effectiveness of Lucas’ screenplay for the original Star Wars installment, Episode IV – A New Hope:

At these talks, Arndt always tells attendees that Star Wars’ enduring appeal has to do with resolving its protagonists goals’ nearly simultaneously, at the climax of the movie. In the comments section of a discussion about a Star Wars talk Arndt gave at the Austin Film Festival in 2010, one attendee of the seminar notes, “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.”

The Episode VII story treatment from Arndt reportedly sets the stage for both Luke and Leia Skywalker to return in some capacity – along with Han Solo and (by extension) possibly other important characters from Episodes IV-VI. Nothing is set yet, of course, but we know that Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher met with Lucas to discuss the third Star Wars trilogy last summer; moreover, Harrison Ford recently announced that he is indeed open to the idea of reprising his role as Han Solo.

It’s also worth mentioning that Arndt’s treatment reportedly calls for “much older” versions of these characters, so the stage would be set for all three stars to return to the franchise (assuming this element of Vulture‘s scoop is accurate). Suffice it to say, there should be more than enough fan support for the trio coming back – even if the Skywalker siblings and Han Solo end up serving little purpose beyond bridging the gap between the second and third Star Wars trilogy (a la Leonard Nimoy as the older Spock in J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek reboot).

Star Wars Logo Star Wars: Episode 7 Story Already Finished By Toy Story 3 Writer [Updated]

On that note, Abrams is also name-dropped as one of the individuals who will be receiving Arndt’s treatment for Episode VII. Other big-name contenders are said to include Lucas’ BFF Steven Spielberg (who was offered the chance to direct Return of the Jedi back in the day) and Brad Bird. The latter of those two filmmakers is a very popular choice among fans for tackling the Star Wars franchise, based on his work on such do-daring action-packed titles as The Incredibles and Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. However, these individuals are considered long-shots right now.

It also needs to be emphasized that this is all technically RUMOR (until we report otherwise, at least). Nonetheless, if Arndt has indeed written a story treatment for Episode VII, then there’s a good chance he’ll be involved in the actual screenwriting process (which would be welcome news indeed). Furthermore, it’s not surprising to hear that the cream of the crop are being looked at to direct – but is quite encouraging, all the same.

UPDATE: Deadline is now confirming that not only has Arndt written a treatment for Episode VII, but the entire third Star Wars trilogy. Furthermore, the site has been informed that he will indeed begin working on the script for Episode VII next year.

UPDATE 2: The official Star Wars site has confirmed that Michael Arndt is scripting Star Wars: Episode VII.

As pre-production of Star Wars: Episode VII begins, Lucasfilm has confirmed that award-winning writer Michael Arndt will write the screenplay for the new Star Wars film. As revealed in the ongoing video series posted here on StarWars.com, Kathleen Kennedy and George Lucas have begun story conferences with Arndt. Arndt won an Academy Award® for Best Original Screenplay for writing Little Miss Sunshine (2006), and was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay for writing Toy Story 3 (2010).

More on Star Wars: Episode VII as the story develops.


Source: Vulture

TAGS: Star wars
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  1. If he worked on Toy Story 3, he’s certainly worthy.

    • Agreed, I had a lump in my throat throughout most of that movie!

  2. Sweet! If this is true, it sounds like they picked a good writer :)

  3. He is a good writer , now let’s see what they do with the director and the casting

    • Yeah what we definitely need are better actors than the prequels (Samuel L Jackson and Christopher Lee excluded)

      • And less green screen!

        build some actual sets and film in actual locations, with real people and props and puppets and stuff!

        • Exactly. The new Star Wars needs visuals like Prometheus: “if you can do it live, do it live”. Wiser words have rarely been spoken in the movie business.

          • I’ve never even thought about how well done Prometheus was on the vfx side, and the set building.
            Problem with the prequels was how much they changed the setting…they could never justify building anything real cuz it was only on screen for a few minutes…

        • I agree with that 1,000%. Yes, one-THOUSAND percent. I am a hardcore believer in using actual props/sets/location/costumes instead of CGI in most every case. (Except of course, for laser beams, etc.)

          • I agree with you 100000000% percent man both of you really, I want to see more practical effects in episode 7 in the originals the effects looked incredible because they used props and puppets and everything and looked so real, the prequels was like a boat load of cgi I’m serious if you look at set photos online every single one is surrounded by a big green wall. I want to see effects that helped make the originals so good

        • Lucas was never happy with shooting on location for the originals due to the technical problems. I guess he felt green screen and computers were superior overall, but it many places it came across as way too hollow.

      • I would really like to see fasbender as a sith , i think he would fit the role perfectly . I would also like to see Willem Dafoe in that role

        Morgan freeman , rusell crow as old jedis and i also would see vigo mortensen playing that role fantastically .

        As for the main jedi hero i don’t really know .

        Still what i just said will never happen . Seeing as some of the old cast of the original triology will return this is not possible cronologically . Having other actors as old jedis would be impossible considering the time line seeing as all jedis are dead except luke . Only possible if it is set a lot of years in the future or on the past .

        Seeing as luke will probably be in the next movie the only jedis we will see except him will be young ones . I will go as far as to make a prediction that the next movies will be about his students . 2 of his most brilliant students , or only students , who will fight each other after one of them falls to the dark side .

        • Thinking back, I’ve thought that Fassbender would have been a great Anakin Skywalker. At least, how I picture what Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader was like.

          • Agreed! Just so the prequels again… bah Hayden Christiansen… :/

            • Fassbender is a great actor I’d like to see him as the villain, I think he’d also make a good imperial officer (though I’m not sure how that would work because the empire is supposed to gone now but maybe they’ll resurrect it somehow)

            • Hah I can top that, ow about Ralph Finnes as the villain in episode 7

        • maybe some of the Jedi’s went into hiding like Yoda and obe wan kenobi did, I also remember reading a paperback, back in the 90′s I believe it was probably one of these Heir to the Empire or Dark Force Rising, where princess lea is pregnant with twins.

      • Um, Sam Jackson did TERRIBLE in the prequels. It was difficult for him to get into character with all the green screens, and it shows. Hell, the droids showed more emotion than he did.

        • Yeah I think I agree with that, putty he’s an awesome actor

      • Ian Mcdiarmid wasn’t a good actor?

      • Ian Mcdiarmid was brilliant.

        • I loved Mcdiarmid as the Emperor but not as Darth Sidious in other words I loved him in Return of the Jedi but he got annoying to me in the prequels I would’ve liked to see a different actor, a younger one play Darth Sidious in his prime

          • how about add an apprentice to reenact the Darth Plagueous and his apprentice who killed him in his sleep! ;)

  4. So. Excited.

  5. If this is true, my faith in the Disney/Lucasfilm merger will increase dramatically!

  6. THey should go with the Dark Empire story. Everyone wants to see Luke on the darkside.

    • that’s stupid so no not everyone wants to see that.

  7. @ Hunter Ewing Mcgregor and Liam Neeson were great in their respective roles as Qui Gonn Jinn And Obi Wan as well

  8. Great news!

  9. Nice choice on the writer! Toy Story 3 was amazing!

  10. Sounds good to me now go get David Fincher or Sam Mendes to direct even Neill Blommkamp or Matthew Vaughn.

  11. This all sounds too good to be true. We have a new hope!

    • Lol! Good line man, good line

  12. I surely hope this is true…
    Also from what I understand Brad Bird’s next project has been kept a secret so is it possible that it could have been Star Wars all along?
    If I’m wrong I’m sure someone will let me know so thanks in advance. :)

    • Brad Bird is the best modern directors at creating interesting group dynamics & filming ensemble pieces. He is my top chpice next to Neil Blomkamp.

  13. “… Star Wars’ enduring appeal has to do with resolving its protagonists goals’ nearly simultaneously, at the climax of the movie … 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.”
    I assume that Ardnt is talking about the Death Star scene, when Han saves Luke, but what was the “moment of despair”? Obi-Wan died long before that moment.

    • “I Have You Now.”

      Luke becomes the last X-Wing pilot still in the battle, has Darth Vader right behind him, and is lined up in Vader’s targeting sight with no hope of avoiding getting shot down. Luke gets shot, there goes Yavin. That’s the moment of despair.

      And then Han shoots Vader, Luke shoots the Death Star, the thing goes boom and the plot is neatly resolved. All in the span of 22 seconds.

      • Thanks. You’re absolutely right. The mission seemed hopeless, Han was a deserter, and Luke’s mentor was gone forever; all of which changed in those 22 seconds.

      • Plus remember that he destroyed the Death Star by finally letting the Force guide him…before that point Luke would become frustrated at his inability to “see” by Force alone. That would be the philosophical goal.

  14. Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford and Mark Hammill. There is NO WAY they are coming back to the series. You can take that bank.

    If Luke, Leia and Han come back, and they probably will, they will be re cast with actors who are relevant and well known in today’s contemporary culture. Much like the new “Star Trek” franchise.

    • well, as HF has already publicly stated he would be open to the idea, you’ve already lost your bank. as stated in the article, i think they will be involved in a limited capacity, but involved none the less.

  15. Man, if this rumor proves kosher, this project is developing at rocket speed, suddenly a May 2015 release looks not only doable but utterly plausible in delivering the FIRST proper ‘Star Wars’ movie since 1983… is everyone here excited as heck or is it just me!?

    With Michael Arndt scripting and (hopefully) Brad Bird directing, plus real sets, actual locations, real aliens on-set (created by actors in prosthetics and animatronics), a minimum of computer-generated effects, AND original Trilogy cast members returning, this movie will be absolutely COLOSSAL when it hits theaters, and will easily cross the $1bn barrier, and then some…

    …suddenly 2015 looks an awful long way off, and I wish it wasn’t…

    • They would have to by necessity be “developing at rocket speed”. If they are releasing in summer 2015, they would need principal photography to be completed about a year ahead of time, give or take, to allow for all the post-production. So that’s at the latest, late summer ’14. Say it takes six months for production, that’s kind of long, but let’s just say. So that’s end of ’13, beginning of ’14. That means they need to start writing, selecting crew, casting, doing all the pre-production stuff by early next year. They don’t need to cast that soon, but clearly they want to tie up the right actors for what is likely a (from 2013 to when the third movie releases in probably 2019), a 6 year commitment. So you’re looking at getting your main core cast set by the middle of next year. Ideally. Could be later, could be sooner. So obviously this whole thing didn’t start after Disney made the announcement. It’s been in the works. Of course, it costs very little to have a guy sit down and come up with a treatment. That’s the cheap part. What’s expensive is how to translate that to the screen. Bird to me is the best of those three. He’s relatively available (as opposed to Abrams who has Star Trek). I also think he comes with less pre-existing baggage(?) as Spielberg who has his own style, his own very well known look and feel. Plus, I don’t know if SS is really looking to take on that big a project anymore. Maybe they are going to JJ to bounce ideas off of him. He seems to have a good grasp on just about everything genre-related. If he doesn’t want to take the job, then I’m sure he’d have some good ideas for them. JJ, as well, also comes with his own rather personal signature style.
      Spielberg is our greatest living big-budget director. But, I think it would send the wrong signal to give the job to not only a great friend of Lucas, but his contemporary. They need to show that the series is moving forward into the future, and to symbolize that, they choose a younger director. Not that Bird is all that much younger at 55. But he’s relatively newer, especially in the live-action category.

  16. Fantastic news for episode 7. I can’t believe Abrams, Bird, and even Spielberg are rumored for this (unless I misread the article if it said something else please correct me)

  17. I was 7 when Space Invaders, Pacman, and Donkey Kong changed gaming. I was 7 when my Dad took me to see Star Wars. My son is 7, daughter 6. We just saw Wreck it Ralph, and now Disney buys Star Wars. Disney Execs are the Jedis of generational marketing.

  18. after seeing Toy Story 3, I have no doubt that Michael will do a good job writing these episodes. I’m just curious who the new characters will be.

  19. Pardon my ignorance, but just what is a “treatment” anyway? Is it like a pre-screen play?

    • A treatment is essentially a much more heavily-detailed plot outline that reads like a short story – albeit, one that describes everything that will occur in the actual script. Some treatments even include notes/suggestions for the directorial style in certain scenes.

      • Thanks Sandy!

  20. If Arndt has analyzed the SW scripts as thoroughly as he appears to have done, then he will know the mistakes and things to avoid and improve. Of course, he’s not perfect, there’s no such thing as a perfect screenplay. He knows that, pretty much, he will have a story that essentially repeats the arc of IV-VI. The whole Joseph Campbell hero myth thing. It won’t be a complete rehash, but like people say, there are only a few story archetypes in entertainment, and everything ever made is just some variation on those few archetypes. I think he needs to accept, we all need to accept it. However, he still needs to write something that is new, and different enough to interest us. To make us want to watch, well, basically the same story over again. Because that is what we are going to get. But we willfully disregard that because we want to see how they tell the story, even if it’s the same bloody story told since the dawn of Man. It’s what prevents things from getting repetitive. But there’s also a natural limit to how many times you can go down that same road. If they have Episodes 10-12, is it going to be yet again a rehash of 7-9, which was a rehash of 4-6? The audience will determine whether they still want more. I think the jury is still out as to whether they actually want 7-9!

    • Oh, believe me, “they” want it. This is gonna be big. And to have this and Avengers 2 coming out the same year? Can’t wait for 2015.

  21. Oh h e ll no!!

  22. What I’d give to read those story treatments. Glad to hear he’ll be doing the screenplay too!

  23. This is the true power of the Star Wars name, hype and advertising three years before the movie is supposed to be released just based on proposed scripts.

  24. He coooould be,hmmmmm Luke’s son.

    • If he is luke’s son, who’s the mom

  25. Get Duncan Jones to direct and have him get his father on board who is a fine actor (The Prestige’s Tesla, Labyrinth’s Jerath, and the Man who fell to Earth), as an elder Sith or Jedi

  26. I see billions in the future. We are now in a new age of Science Fiction movie experience.

    IMAX 3-D has never had a bigger boost. Avatar, Prometheus and now Star Wars sequels will surely mean huge box office.