‘Star Wars: Episode 7′ Now Being Written by J.J. Abrams & Lawrence Kasdan

Published 9 months ago by

jj abrams star wars 7 writer Star Wars: Episode 7 Now Being Written by J.J. Abrams & Lawrence Kasdan

We’re very close to a year having passed since Lucasfilm became the property of Disney and Star Wars: Episode VII was announced for a theatrical premiere date in 2015. Since then, we’ve had to navigate our way through a seemingly endless parade of rumors and unsubstantiated reports. That is, save for confirmation that J.J. Abrams (Star Trek Into Darkness) is directing the movie, drawn from a script written by Michael Arndt (Toy Story 3) and based on material developed by Star Wars creator George Lucas.

Interestingly, not long after rumor began to circulate that Lucasfilm was preparing to make a major Episode VII-related announcement, we do have an update on the film’s progress, straight from the lion’s mouth. However, while the update is significant, it has nothing to do with casting and/or the subtitle for the seventh live-action Star Wars installment (despite speculation pointing in that direction).

The news from Lucasfilm is that Arndt is no longer involved with development on the Episode VII screenplay, having stepped aside so that Abrams might continue developing the script in collaboration with Lawrence Kasdan (who’s been consulting on the project this whole time). As of right now though, it remains to be seen if Arndt will be receiving co-screenwriting credit for his contributions to the new Star Wars movie; or, rather if he’ll just be credited for the screen story, based on his Episode VII treatment (he’s rumored to have also written story treatments for Episodes VIII & IX).

Here is the official statement, from Kathleen Kennedy:

“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.”

Abrams’ body of work as a screenwriter includes his feature-length directing efforts Mission: Impossible III and Super 8, in addition to episodes of Alias, Lost and Fringe. Interestingly, back in the days before he broke out as successful TV show-runner/executive producer with Felicity in the late 1990s, Abrams wrote such films as the drama Regarding Henry – featuring Han Solo himself, Harrison Ford as the lead – and the sci-fi/romantic drama Forever Young, starring Mel Gibson; not to mention, his work on Michael Bay’s end-of-world disaster thriller, Armageddon.

star wars episode 7 writer lawrence kasdan 570x294 Star Wars: Episode 7 Now Being Written by J.J. Abrams & Lawrence Kasdan

Arguably, the more intriguing writing addition for Episode VII is Kasdan, who co-wrote the script for The Empire Strikes Back – which many consider to be, far and away, the best Star Wars movie – in addition to Return of the Jedi and Raiders of the Lost Ark, some 30 years ago. Admittedly, his more recent screenwriting output (see: Dreamcatcher and Darling Companion) leaves something to be desired, but maybe a return to the space opera franchise that jump-started his career will help to rejuvenate Kasdan’s creative spark. (Lucasfilm/Disney seems to think as much is possible, considering that Kasdan has also been recruited to write one of the Star Wars spinoff films.)

The Lucasfilm press release also includes a nice breakdown of the personnel working behind the scenes on Episode VII, with additional confirmation that John Williams is returning to compose the score:

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.

_____

Principal photography on Star Wars: Episode VII is (according to Lucasfilm) “scheduled to begin Spring 2014 at Pinewood Studios for an expected 2015 release.” As always, we’ll keep you posted on any future news concerning the film’s development.

TAGS: star wars

36 Comments

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  1. Thank you for reporting this accurately. Many sites are reporting that they are starting from scratch or that Arndt will not receive credit. You rock, Screenrant !!

  2. I’m glad they both are writing it. So they can have 2 perspectives and one to tell the other no that doesn’t work or I don’t care if its Jar Jar Binks great grandson he wont be in Episode 7.

    • Oh be quiet. Jar Jar WILL appear in some capacity; whether you or anyone who has a childish hatred towards him, the prequels, Lucas for raping your childhood, etc, etc. likes it or not. He’s apart of the franchise and DESERVES to be included.

      • EggU, (Or should I say TROLLu?)If the filmmakers included Jar Jar Binks in any capacity whatsoever in Episode 7 they’d be ALMOST as idiotic as you are for swinging from his Gungan jock strap.

      • Jar Jar is not a real person, so “deserves” nothing…

  3. I have faith in them. Make us proud!

  4. I think it will be good. JJ Abrams’ Star Trek films were always far more suited for a Star Wars film than anything like the original Star Trek series, and Abrams even admitted this himself.

  5. Good to see Kasdan back.

    • Agreed.

  6. My guess is Arndt turned in a script and now Abrams and Kasdan will tweak it. I don’t think this is any cause for alarm. Scripts get worked and reworked all the time in Hollywood whether they are good or not,either way it should be better after these two get done with it.

  7. how many classic star wars scenes will he rip off I wonder

    • It’s not like JJ Abrams has total control, he’s just has a majority of it. And who’s to say he hasn’t learned from his mistakes? Besides, the first Star Trek film Abrams directed was very original. Guess cynicism never ends.

  8. My one concern with this is based on the fact that Abrams’ projects sometimes/often are lacking in plot coherence and/or resolution, whether he had a hand in the writing or not. I don’t doubt that the dialog will be snappy and such, but I really hope that this film has a good story at its heart.

    If Arndt’s and Kasdan’s contributions factor in, that will be good, methinks.

    • JarJar…is that you ?

  9. if anything this is great news.

  10. Probably good news at it means that aren’t jumping gung ho into making the movie as quickly as possible.

  11. My suspicion is Arndt’s script was more of a self-contained story
    and Abrams and Kasdan are reworking it with the future installments
    in mind now that J.J. & Co. have a story map in mind for the future films.

    • That’s the feeling I get too.

      Could also tie into any spin off TV shows and movies in between the main Episodes.

  12. This is really outstanding news. Nothing against Arndt, but the fact that Abrams and Kasdan are both involved directly really makes me more confident that this is being handled the right way.

  13. Gosh, remember to write an article when they have a whole page finished.

  14. “Time will tell,but I will keep the faith”. STAR WARS IS FOREVER!

  15. Sounds good to me I like both of them

  16. Just keep it out of the hands of Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman. That’s all i ask.

    • Amen. I would also add Lindelof.

  17. As long as the new star wars is a chewbaca origin story, then im all for it.

  18. Was there ever any doubt that both J.J. and Kasdan we’re going to want their pedigree on the screenwriting credits alongside Arndt’s?

    I wouldn’t have it any other way, and I don’t think that it is as nefarious as it’s being reported by most outlets.

  19. Look, I just want a new story with all new characters. I don’t want to see Luke & Co. in this new movie (and the movies after). We need something fresh and moving away from the Skywalker family is just that.

  20. My biggest worry for Episode II… More JarJar.

    My biggest worry for Episode VII… Lens flares.

    Quite a step up.

  21. Thank F’ing god!

  22. Looking forward to seeing an aged Jar Jar still being a senator on Courasant! You all [should] know he’ll be somewhere in the film. He’s as iconic as any OT character, whether anyone likes it or not.

  23. Looks like the pressure got to Arndt, as predicted here:
    http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/a5c30becee/writing-star-wars-w-michael-arndt

  24. Seriously, the Emperor is dead, Darth Vader died. So who the hell would be the Bad guy now?
    Some Clone of the Emperor like it was told in the Books?
    Or they should just include part of the Story with that Huge Imperial Ship that got missing.

  25. You know there is no story going on when just about the most obvious thing you can possibly imagine is announced like it’s news.

    JJ and Kasdan doing rewrites?

    My god I never expected this.

    Oh wait…

    I did.

    Of course there is going to be “rewriting” Arndt did his part for the longest time writing who knows how many drafts starting probably 2 years ago.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if his part in a more active way was wrapped months ago if not longer.

    Just like Lucas did the “real” first drafts of ESB then LK did his thing then GL rewrote that again etc etc.

    The script is only the start for any movie especially Star Wars. Then you have to shoot , then edit, then see what you need, shoot some more and restructure the edit.

    I hope real news comes this year.

  26. I’ve been watching a lot of Legend of Korra lately and I think that a Star Wars movie like that would be beyond amazing, what I love about the series is that it stands alone it has different characters with different personalities but similar styles of humor and fun that the original series had. I love the series so much I wonder if episode 7 will be anything like that. Anyway I don’t see this as bad news at all at first it made me feel alarmed that the movie was going through problems but it sounds like Ardnt’s script is just getting a re-write by Abrams and Laurence both of which are very good writers so I imagine it will pay off, in a lot of ways this is healthy for the movie because of an old saying that goes, “Art from Adversity” almost every movie that is made suffers through arguments and challenges and problems the filming of the original star wars was a complete disaster, the Avengers had slight budget issues, Iron Man was almost completely done on improvising the list can go on and on. When it came to the prequels I don’t think there were any re-writes to any of the scripts because the people making the movies didn’t really challenge each other and the movies didn’t really entertain a large part of the audience with this the fact that the people making the movie are challenging each other means that the movie is actually being cared for which is very good to know.

  27. Now if only they could contact the ghost of Irving Kershner.

  28. This gonna be badass. That’s all I got to say.

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