Just a little over a week ago, the Internet was blown wide open by the completely unexpected news that Disney was buying Lucasfilm from George Lucas, including, and especially, the Star Wars franchise. And what a week it’s been. The original trinity of actors — Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, and Carrie Fisher — have all commented that they would be interested in returning for Episode VII. Every A-list writer and director in Tinseltown has been rumored to be involved, or said they’d like to be involved, or denied that they’re involved. Now, finally, we have some actual, official news. The early rumors were right: Toy Story 3 screenwriter Michael Arndt will pen the next big-screen Star Wars adventure.
The news broke today via the official Star Wars website, and while it doesn’t provide much information, it does at least settle the question of the writer. Here’s the brief announcement:
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).
For more news about Star Wars: Episode VII — slated for a 2015 release — keep checking StarWars.com.
After beginning his career as Matthew Broderick’s assistant on Addicted to Love and Inspector Gadget, Arndt has pulled off the damned impressive feat of having his first two produced screenplays nominated for Oscars, one of which actually won. While he might not be the first name you think of when pondering who should write the first Star Wars movie of a new trilogy, it’s hard to question the credentials of the guy who wrote freakin’ Toy Story 3.
Episode VII won’t be Arndt’s first high-profile foray into science fiction either. He’s got two SF projects in the works for next year: the second Hunger Games movie, Catching Fire, and the Tom Cruise flick Oblivion. I imagine those last two assignments were a big part of what put him on the Star Wars short-list. Between those projects and his previous resume, Arndt seems like a good solid choice. He can handle the genre. He can handle humor so that things aren’t so persistently humorless (*coughcoughPrequelscough*). And Toy Story 3 proves he knows how to put together a story that appeals to all age groups, something that’s important for any new Star Wars movie if it’s going to succeed.
We’ve still got a long wait and many more positions to be filled before Episode VII hits the big screen. But this is a good start.