UPDATE: Star Wars: Episode VII has found its writer in Toy Story 3's Michael Arndt
UPDATE: According to StarWars.com, Michael Arndt is now officially the screenwriter for STAR WARS: EPISODE VII. Here is the full 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).”
We may be nearing our first real announcement about the STAR WARS sequels. Vulture reports that screenwriter Michael Arndt is a leading candidate for the writing duties for STAR WARS: EPISODE VII. Arndt is an Oscar winner for his LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE script. He also wrote TOY STORY 3 and the upcoming THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE and UNTITLED INSIDE THE MIND Pixar movie.
LucasFilm and Disney are not commenting on the news, but sources told Vulture that Arndt wrote a 40-50 page treatment for STAR WARS: EPISODE VII. Disney is hoping to bring back the characters of Luke, Leia, and Han which is in keeping with what we have been hearing lately from Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford.
Arndt is a big STAR WARS fan and uses the movies when teaching screenwriting seminars. Take a look at this from the Vulture story:
At these talks, Arndt always tells attendees that Star Wars’ enduring appeal has to do with resolving its protagonists goals’ nearly simultaneously, at the climax of the movie. In the comments section of a discussion about a Star Wars talk Arndt gave at the Austin Film Festival in 2010, one attendee of the seminar notes, "Arndt stated that if a writer could resolve the story's arcs (internal, external, philosophical) immediately after the Moment of Despair at the climax, he or she would deliver the Insanely Great Ending and put the audience in a euphoric state. The faster it could happen, the better. By [Arndt’s] reckoning, George Lucas hit those three marks at the climax of Star Wars within a space of 22 seconds."
Indeed, in the third act of Star Wars, as Arndt explained to his young screenwriting Padawans at the 2009 Hawaii Writers Conference, its central characters' main goals all are met on pages 89 through 91 of the original Lucas script: At the crescendo of Star Wars, a spectral Obi Wan urges, “Use the Force, Luke,” and he does, thus reaching his inner goal (fighting self-doubt to become a hero). Han Solo reappears (meeting the philosophical goal of overcoming selfishness with altruism) to shoot down Darth Vader, which allows Luke to use the Force to mentally guide his shot and blow up the Death Star (outer goal and inner goals simultaneously met).
Tell me that doesn't sound like a guy ideal for bringing the STAR WARS saga to where we all want it to be?
Arndt is by no means a lock, but this seems to be some of the most solid news we have heard so far. What do you schmoes think?