Episode VII: Lawrence Kasdan and J.J. Abrams now taking on script duties, key crew members confirmed

Star Wars logoWell, this isn’t the news we’ve been expecting… It looks like Episode VII has said goodbye to screenwriter Micheal Arndt. StarWars.com has announced that J.J. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan are now penning the script for Episode VII.

“I am very excited about the story we have in place and thrilled to have Larry and J.J. working on the script,” Kathleen Kennedy said in a statement. “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.”

It’s unclear if any of Arndt’s script will be used, but I don’t think it looks likely… Whatever the case, I’m sure the rumors will be coming momentarily.

The announcement confirms a number of other production roles, including sound designer Ben Burtt and many others. (/Film has a nice rundown.) It also says “location scouting, production design, casting, and costume design are already underway” and states that “shooting is scheduled to begin Spring 2014″ for “an expected 2015 release.”

22 thoughts on “Episode VII: Lawrence Kasdan and J.J. Abrams now taking on script duties, key crew members confirmed

  1. Lane

    At the risk of being the typical Star Wars Alarmist fan… This is kind of concerning.

    Kasdan is fine, but I’m really wary of Abrams having a bigger say in the screenplay. The problematic treatment of female characters in his Trek films has been written about to death, so I’ll just say I hope that his usual Bad Robot writing cohorts stay far, far away from this.

    And I could be waaay off base because I’ve got no idea what typical mileposts are for filmmaking, but isn’t it kind of late to be switching up screenwriters if filming is set to begin in a few months?

  2. Doublesith

    I wonder if they’re still going by Lucas’ original story treatment that Arndt worked from or if they’re throwing the whole thing out and starting from zero.

    Maybe the Big Three coming back is not a given anymore?

  3. Dunc Post author

    I’m a little concerned about them dropping Arndt, but it it WAY overreacting to get all in a tizzy about Orci/Kurtzman/Lindelof at this point.

    And by no means do I think this means that Lucas – or the big three – aren’t still in play.

  4. Doublesith

    What I find baffling is the worrying about the script being ready.

    Scripts being finished just days before filming is pretty much par for the course in Star Wars.

  5. Oleo

    Increased involvement of Kasdan is almost certainly a plus. Before getting too worried about the timeframe I’m just reminding myself that all of this might have happened ages ago and they’re only telling us now.

  6. Doyle

    And just like that…I’m invested in/furious about the very idea of this film again. Star Wars! Why do you do these things to our emotions?

  7. Mike S

    What worries me — and in a big way, is what badassdigest had to say about a complete overhaul of the story and a whole new group of characters brought in.

    Is this another way of saying Ford, Fisher and Hamill won’t be appearing in the sequels at all?

    I’m panicking here.

  8. Dunc Post author

    I wouldn’t put too much faith in what Faraci says, he seems to delight in stirring shit up. Read McWeeny and be at peace, child.

    (Seriously: This probably did not just happen. They’re only telling us about it now. And this kind of thing happens all the time in Hollywood.)

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  10. Aaron

    So we’ll get wow effects and action moments from Abrams and good dialogue from Kasdan. That’s nice. Unfortunately, I was rather hoping for memorable character moments, a great story, and a big “blaze of glory” Toy Story 3 type death sequence for the Big Three, so that’s pretty much out the window.
    Well, this will be a day long remembered. It has seen the end of Arndt, it may soon see the end of Episode VII. #AlarmistFan #InJJIwanttobelievebutcantreally

  11. Mark Newbold (@MarkNewbold1971)

    We heard the same, that this took place a while ago. But the folks getting irritated at anything but a May 2015 release date might have to let that bone go. ‘Expected 2015′ is a significant change from ‘Spring/Summer 2015′.

    This script is finished but nevertheless I personally don’t mind if it does slide back to May 2016. They are essentially relaunching the franchise, so why rush it? People keep comparing them but Avengers 2 having a release date is not a good comparison. The Marvel brain trust and conveyor belt is in place and is a well-oiled machine, there’s no panic there. But Ep7 in May 2016 would make sense. J.J not directing Trek 13 so no conflict (besides, that’s via a rival studio and will be out September to honour 50th anniversary).

    Very interesting and exciting times and stoked Kasdan is on, hope he has found his Star Wars mojo (it HAS been over 30 years) andhope ss the senior writer that he is leading the writing partnership. J.J having such a big hand in the writing does concern me for some of the reasons above (though not the way he writes females, he has always led with well written females put in tough situations. One gratuitous 2 second long bra and knickers scene – which if people took the time to study served to show us something about Kirk, not Marcus – doesn’t suddenly make him a misogynist)

    1. Dunc Post author

      That’s a very good point about Marvel, Mark. If they move it I’d prefer May 2016, but I’m not planting any flags or anything. ::shrug:: One way or another, we’ll find out.

      The Trek Markus scene is problematic, not matter which way you look. Regardless of anyone’s motivations, it was there for T&A and they’ve said as much. Period. But that was a different writing team – most of whom aren’t involved in this. In any case, more than enough has been said about that and I’m not particularly interested in rehashing it here.

  12. Mike S

    ^Enter antidote

    Devin Faraci thinks Super 8 was a terrible film.
    I guess the fact that the film was set up (brilliantly) like an 80’s Spielberg film, was completely lost on him.

    Abrams has proved he can recapture and evoke some of those same feelings we got, when we first saw E.T. and even Raiders of the Lost Ark.

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