Just days after Disney announced its intention to acquire Lucasfilm for just over $4 billion, the company released its latest plan for episode VII of the nine-part series, saying Michael Arndt has been tapped to write the screenplay.
“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),’ read a statement released by Lucasfilm on Friday.
Mr. Arndt, who penned Disney-Pixar’s “Toy Story 3,” has reportedly already cranked out nearly 50 pages worth, The Hollywood Reporter said Friday.
The story will supposedly focus on the Skywalker family. The movie will likely feature Mark Hamill (Luke) and Carrie Fisher (Leia) as older versions of the characters made popular in the 70s and 80s. It remains unclear whether Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and Mark Hamill will return, although all have expressed interest in returning to the series.
The announcement comes just days after Lusasfilm creator George Lucas announced a deal between the film company he founded in the wake of the “Star Wars” movies and Disney.
Mr. Lucas was 33 years old in 1977 when he released the first “Star Wars” movie, which he wrote and directed. Mr. Lucas is now 68; with the sale of his company to Disney he is said to be retiring.
“It’s now time for me to pass ‘Star Wars’ on to a new generation of filmmakers,” Mr. Lucas said at the time of the deal.
Mr. Arndt won the Best Original Screenplay Academy Award in 2006 for the comedy Little Miss Sunshine, was nominated for a second Oscar for his screenplay for 2010′s Toy Story 3, and has written the upcoming sequel Hunger Games: Catching Fire.