This afternoon, according to Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, Michael Arndt is out as screenwriter of the upcoming seventh installment of the Star Wars film saga. Taking over will be the collaboration of "Episode VII" director J.J. Abrams and co-writer of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, Lawrence Kasdan.
Says Kennedy in a statement, "I am very excited about the story we have in place and thrilled to have Larry and J.J. working on the script. 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."
While this may be a blow to Arndt and the fans he has amassed as the Academy award-nominated writer of Toy Story 3, no one can argue the sheer geek cred the much-awaited project garners with this move. As fans of the original trilogy watched George Lucas sully its good name, the inclusion of J.J. Abrams (who resurrected the Star Trek franchise) gave fans a new hope. Bringing an integral veteran of the original series like Kasdan can only elicit faith from the masses that this new trilogy will be moving in a better, if not new, direction.
It was also revealed that filming of the as yet-untitled "Episode VII" will begin in the Spring of 2014, rather than February 2014.
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