Lawrence Kasdan—a Lucasfilm veteran who wrote or cowrote scripts and screenplays for Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi—is now cowriting the script for Star Wars: Episode VII alongside JJ Abrams. Commenting on the switch at StarWars.com, Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy praised Kasdan by saying “there are very few people who fundamentally understand the way a Star Wars story works like Larry.”
Today’s news means Michael Arndt, the original writer slated to handle Episode VII, is no longer involved. Arndt boasted an award-winning background that included Little Miss Sunshine and Toy Story 3, but his resume did not contain the intimate Lucasfilm knowledge of Kasdan. “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,” Kennedy noted.
In addition to the staffing news, today’s announcements updated the current status of Episode VII. Preliminary work such as location scouting, production design, casting, and costume design is all underway. The staff list involved in those aspects of the film reads like a modern sci-fi dream, with a director of photography who worked on both modern Star Trek films and a special effects supervisor with Skyfall, Dark Knight Rises, and Inception in his resume. According to the site, shooting forEpisode VII is set to begin in Spring 2014 with a goal of releasing the film in 2015.
What do you think of the latest news in the Episode VII creation saga? We were quick to weigh inback when Disney first acquired the Star Wars universe, and forum threads exist for all of it (Arndt’sand JJ Abrams‘ credentials included). Share your latest thoughts on the fate of the galaxy below.