Some good news and bad news for Star Wars fans in Fresno today. The bad news is that it was announced that Michael Arndt, screenwriter for Toy Story 3 among other films, will no longer be crafting the screenplay for the hotly anticipated Star Wars: Episode VII. The good new is that his replacements have already been announced at the same time. Along with director J, J, Abram himself, Lawence Kasden will be returning to the Star Wars universe for the new film; if that name sounds familiar to fans, it is for good reason as Kasden has a long, glowing history with Lucasfilm projects, as is outlined here in the official press release:
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.
This is all huge news for fans, making the wait for the forthcoming films ever more intense. This examiner will keep you all posted as more news is made available.
UPDATE: Exciting news from multiple sources such as SuperHeroHype.Com on November 7, 2013, when it was announced that the official release date for Star Wars: Episode VII will be December 18, 2015.
Alan Horn, chairman of The Walt Disney Studios said, "We're very excited to share the official 2015 release date for Star Wars: Episode VII, where it will not only anchor the popular holiday filmgoing season but also ensure our extraordinary filmmaking team has the time needed to deliver a sensational picture."
Filming is currently scheduled to begin in spring 2014 at Pinewood Studios.