Three weeks to the day have passed since the announcement that Disney has officially purchased Lucasfilm from George Lucas and thus gained the rights to properties such as Star Wars, and we've been progressively whittling down the list of potential directors to take on Episode VII (the first installment in a new trilogy - and maybe beyond); though, that process has started to become so
ridiculous imprecise that it's given an excuse for our readers to assure us that no: they won't be directing the new Star Wars movie, either. (Hey, we are here here for your entertainment, after all.)
However, what we do know for certain is that the Episode VII script is being written by Oscar-winner Michael Arndt (Toy Story 3), drawing from a story treatment he penned (based on input and 'creative guidance' from Lucas). Moreover, we now have a pretty good idea as to what screenwriters might be taking on the challenge of scripting Episode VIII and Episode IX.
Deadline has been informed by its sources that Disney has approached Lawrence Kasdan and Simon Kinberg about scripting the eighth and ninth live-action Star Wars installments, so as to get the ball rolling on those films as soon as possible. Obviously, if this were another franchise, that could be seen as putting the wagon before the mule; however, this is Star Wars we're talking about - so you can rest assured Episodes VIII and IX are going to happen. Moreover, Lucas is said to have "mapped out" stories, so there's even less reason to hold off on beginning the screenwriting process.
UPDATE: THR's Borys Kits has Tweeted:
Here's what I'm hearing on the Star Wars writers: not courting but that deals are closed. And they will also be producers.
Kasdan, as many of you are undoubtedly aware, is no stranger to the Star Wars franchise; in fact, the four-time Oscar-nominee co-wrote The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi and the story for the Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire video game. He also boasts such titles as Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, Body Heat, Silverado and Wyatt Earp to his name. While Kasdan's script work over the past fifteen years hasn't proven so memorable (Mumford, Dreamcatcher), it's near-impossible to deny that he posses a strong understanding of what makes the Star Wars series work.
In other words, Kasdan is a fine choice to return as a writer on a future Star Wars installment. He's also in part responsible for fleshing out Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Leia Organa/Skywalker (Carrie Fisher) in the original trilogy, which is just icing on the cake - seeing how there's a good chance that older versions of all three characters are returning for the new films - and the new trilogy will need protagonists as engaging and well-developed as those three, in order to resonate as strongly with a new generation.
Kinberg, however, invites more caution than Kasdan, as far as his involvement with Star Wars goes. That's not to say he hasn't done solid work on such titles as Mr. and Mrs. Smith and Sherlock Holmes; not to mention, he's been entrusted to work on the script for director Bryan Singer's X-Men: Days of Future Past (which is a film where things could easily get bogged down, due to the sheer number of details and characters). On the other hand, his resume includes such underwhelming titles as X-Men: The Last Stand, Jumper and This Means War.
To be fair, though, how much of the responsibility for those film results belongs to the directors - as opposed to Kinberg's script work - is a matter up for debate. He does possess significant experience putting together tentpole material, which is important. Plus, part of it will come down to whoever agrees to handle the task of helming each new Star Wars film - since their vision(s) is (are) going to determine whether or not these installments can live up to the haughty expectations of the Force-loving masses.
We will keep you updated on the situation concerning Star Wars: Epsiodes VIII and IX as more information is released. Meanwhile, Star Wars: Episode VII will be arriving in theaters in 2015.