'Star Wars: Episode 7' Update: Arndt Writing Screenplay and Tarantino, Spielberg and Snyder Won't Direct

Star Wars: Episode VIIKevin addressed this on Friday, but it has now been confirmed that Oscar-winning screenwriter Michael Arndt (Toy Story 3, Little Miss Sunshine) will pen the screenplay for Star Wars: Episode VII. Word at the end of the week was Arndt had written a 40-something page treatment for the film, but now he has the official gig as StarWars.com released the folllowing statement:

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).

Arndt's recent screenwriting duties has involved projects that certainly contain sci-fi elements including The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Oblivion, the Tom Cruise starrer for TRON: Legacy helmer Joseph Kosinski.

One thing I will say as of now is this new trilogy is already off to a good start as someone other than Lucas will be writing the screenplay. It seems things can only get better from this point on... right?

A curious piece from that statement above, however, is the mention that pre-production is beginning. This normally suggests a director is involved and has a crew beginning work designing elements of the film, and in the case of a sci-fi film such as Star Wars I would think this would involve production and creature design. Could a director be named shortly?

Rumors of Brad Bird and J.J. Abrams being approached have bubbled up recently, but the idea of Abrams going from Star Trek to Star Wars seems unlikely and with Bird working on his own sci-fi project 1952, which recently added George Clooney to the cast makes the possibility of him being involved seem quite slim. Matthew Vaughn (X-Men: First Class) was among the additional directors recently rumored as well as Safety Not Guaranteed helmer Colin Trevorrow.

Directors we know that won't be involved include Steven Spielberg, Zack Snyder and Quentin Tarantino, all three of which recently weighed in with their thoughts on helming the franchise:

"No! No! It's not my genre. It's my best friend George's genre."

~ Steven Spielberg

"I could so care less. Especially if Disney's going to do it. I'm not interested in the Simon West version of Star Wars."

~ Quentin Tarantino

"I don't think I'd be interested in directing it. I'm a huge Star Wars fanatic. I just think doing [episodes] seven, eight and nine is just a slippery slope. It's a whole other mythological experiment I'm excited to see, but it's a lot of effort."

~ Zack Snyder

Casting will likely begin taking place soon as well with a lot of talk lately centered on original franchise stars Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford being courted to return to play Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Han Solo respectively. Who knows if the story will involve their characters, but it might be interesting to see them included if necessary.

Meanwhile, a second video with George Lucas and Kathleen Kennedy discussing the future of the franchise from a screenwriting prospective.

  • Winchester

    Who seriously thought of Tarantino? Was he just asked so he could give a smart alec response someone could print? Please..................

    The other two weren't likely anyway, although I had never heard Snyder brought up. I was kinda coming around to thinking that Brad Bird could be a good choice to direct but then I had totally forgotten '1952' was supposed to be his next gig. Isn't he still trying to get passion project '1906' off the ground as well?

    At any rate, I don't think it will be long before a director is announced. This whole trilogy notion was being planned LONG before anyone knew Lucasfilm was being bought by Disney. You don't go into pre-pro that fast after the sale unless it was already underway. Nor do you do a 40 page trilogy treatment that fast either. I bet the director was chosen even before the sale went public. Just like the writer.

    They will just drip feed confirmations as it suits them to keep the buzz going.

    • Chris138

      Tarantino was likely just asked what he thought of the recent news about Star Wars, and he gave his response. I don't think anyone would ever consider having him direct one of those movies. He'd probably just rip off, or "homage", every other science fiction B-movie from that last 40 or 50 years.

  • Jack

    Nice! I like Arndt, fantastic writer. He'll bring out the nostalgia topped with great characters and action.

    1. Tom Hooper- Les Mizz looks sprawling and epic, plus he was considered for Iron Man 3
    2. Duncan Jones
    3. Alfonso Cuaron
    4. Lee Unkrich
    5. Drew Godard
    6. Joe Johnston
    7. Robert Zemeckis
    8. Jon Favreu
    9. Neil Blomkamp
    10. Rian Johnson

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Grissom/ Grissom

    I would consider Joseph Kosinski mainly because i'd like to see what type of sprawling atmosphere he'd give it, like with what he did with Tron Legacy.

  • tabertot

    Peter Jackson - LOTR, Hobbit,
    James Cameron- Avatar, Aliens, Terminator, Titantic
    James McTeigue - V for Vendetta (assistant director Matrix, Star Wars II)
    Roland Emmerich - Stargate, Independence Day, 2012, Day after Tomorrow
    Joss Whedon - Avengers, Firefly, Serenity, Buffy
    Tim Burton - Beetlejuice, Batman, Batman Returns, Mars Attacks!, Ed Wood, Planet of the Apes, Big Fish, Sweeney Todd, Alice in Wonderland, Charlie and Chocolate Factory, Sleepy Hollow
    George Miller - Happy Feet, Mad Max, Babe: Pig in the City
    David Twohy - Pitch Black, Chronicles of Riddick

  • bill

    Why has no one realized that Disney put Fincher on hold right before this deal broke? And Kathleen Kennedy wants to work with someone with enthusiasm who knows the universe that shes worked with before...fincher started with lucas and has worked with her. Could he be the sercret director? The reason hes been doing tv and hasnt commited to anything?

    I want to rule vaughn out now because hes a director/writer but they have a writer, so... FINCHER!

    • Arya

      God, now I seriously hope it's Fincher. I think Andrew Stanton is the perfect choice, but then there's John Carter.. with Disney.. so.. and it's so sad that nobody even mention his name..

      • Poke

        This is a bubble i really don't want to burst (Fincher would be a glorious choice) but considering the crushing experience he had picking up the Alien franchise, I would be very, very surprised if he crawled under Disney's thumb to take on Star Wars.

  • Chris

    Gotta go with Rian Johnson.

  • rewster79

    It really is shaping up to be a return to the winning formula of "Empire" --- Lucas' story penned by a great writer. I'm getting really excited about the prospects of this.

    As far as Director goes --- Lucas specifically stated in the original press release of the Disney deal that he was ready to turn over Star Wars to "the next generation of filmmakers". By that regard, Spielberg was never a possibility. And to me, "next generation" doesn't even imply someone we've ever heard of. Lucas has always been charitably invested in education and his alma mater film school USC, and I really get the vibe he has an affinity for young, upstarting kids like he was circa "American Graffiti". And don't think for a second that just because he sold the company he didn't already help Kennedy hand-pick whoever is taking the role.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/jaybob/ jaybob

    So will Star Wars fans finally get the the Star Wars film they thought they watched back in the 70s, and not that kiddy cartoony stuff that Lucas thinks he made?

  • Scott

    Lol at Spielberg's "not my genre" comment. So he's saying that he's pigeon-holed himself with the sameness of Jaws, E.T., A.I., Saving Private Ryan, War of the Worlds, Jurassic Park, Always, Lincoln, Munich, Raiders of the Lost Ark, etc.?

    Spielberg has tackled tons of genres admirably, but he couldn't get a handle on an effects-laden crowd-pleaser with a positive message? Please. He should've just been honest and said, "Star Wars? Pass."

  • Unknown/Anonymous

    Prior to the announcement of Mr. Arndt's being hired, I actually had numerous ideas for a plot for Episode VII since 2007. These included:

    The villain being a Sith Lord who survived the Galactic Civil War but was gravely injured in his escape and only survives on life support (his brain was transplanted into a robotic head held on a life support machine as his physical injuries were deemed incurable). The supporting villains would be a small cult of Dark Jedi he formed.

    Another character was created. His name was Syrus Bontree, Luke's former padawan and his second-in-command to the Jedi Council. His species is best described as a three-way hybrid (he has a human right arm, a robotic left arm as well as numerous other robotic features and the rest was all alien). He is loyal to his master and responsibilities as a Jedi, but he can also be sarcastic. The colour of his lightsaber blade would have been green.

    Plot-wise, the storyline varied between a straightforward takeover plot to a plot revolving around the villain's search for a fabled ancient Sith Army of indoctrinated creations held in suspended animation since a failed experiment in the dying days of the Sith Empire (of the Old Republic era).

    At least Mr. Arndt's hiring means at least I won't have to think about plot ideas anymore...

    • gary james

      Thank you George..................You've had your go now leave it alone.

      • Unknown/Anonymous

        Congratulations, you are an official idiot. Just to remind you I am not who you think I am. Also I stopped that idea in December 2007 and moved on with my life. So I think you've learnt a lesson here, think before you open your big fat bigoted yankee cakehole.

        • xSTEVEj

          Wow. Overreaction, maybe?

          • gary james

            Not if you re-read his pitch ! I love this line
            "He is loyal to his master and responsibilities as a Jedi, but he can also be sarcastic. The colour of his lightsaber blade would have been green."

            had me in stitches.

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