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'Star Wars: Episode VII' Scribe Michael Arndt Replaced by JJ Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan

The odds of grown men possibly crying during Star Wars: Episode VII have dramatically decreased.* On Thursday, Lucasfilm announced that director/producer JJ Abrams and The Empire Strikes Back scribe Lawrence Kasdan had taken over screenwriting duties for the 2015 sequel. While the press release didn't mention it, this news means that Toy Story 3 writer Michael Arndt is no longer working on the project.

"I am very excited about the story we have in place and thrilled to have Larry and J.J. working on the script," states Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy. "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."

This is some pretty big Star Wars news. Lucasfilm trumpeted Arndt's hiring last November, positioning the writer as the first big piece of the new Star Wars puzzle. Arndt not only won rave reviews for Toy Story 3 but was also nominated for an Oscar due to his work on Little Miss Sunshine. One has to wonder why the Arndt/Star Wars marriage didn't work out.

Of course, this isn't all bad news. It's no surprise that Abrams wants a say in the screenplay for the movie that he's directing. Joss Whedon did the same thing when he was hired to direct The Avengers, reworking Zak Penn's script. The fact that Kasdan, the man who wrote the script for The Empire Strikes Back, is now working with Abrams on the Episode VII script should cause Star Wars fans to rejoice. Sure, Arndt didn't work out, but the consolation prize is pretty damn good.

Lucasfilm has been teasing fans with the trailers for A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi over the past three Wednesdays. This upcoming Wednesday is actually the one-year anniversary of Disney buying Lucasfilm. Those two events comings together have some Star Wars fans believing that Oct. 30 could bring a big Star Wars announcement, whether it's casting or even a short teaser featuring Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker, which would most likely break the Internet. C'mon, Star Wars — break the Internet on Wednesday.

* OK, grown men are going to cry during Star Wars: Episode VII anyways. The questions is whether those will be tears of joy or tears of despair.
'Star Wars: Episode VII' Scribe Michael Arndt Replaced by JJ Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan Reviewed by Bill Kuchman on 10/25/2013 Rating: 5

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