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Lucasfilm has confirmed that Oscar winner Michael Arndt will write Star Wars: Episode VII, the first film in a new trilogy announced last week along with the studio’s acquisition by Disney. George Lucas and his Lucasfilm successor Kathleen Kennedy have begun story conferences with Arndt, who’s reportedly created a 40- to 50-page treatment that will be passed along to potential directors.
Arndt, who won an Academy Award for Little Miss Sunshine, also wrote Toy Story 3, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and the upcoming Untitled Pixar Movie That Takes You Inside the Mind for Up. He’s also characterized as a Star Wars expert who lectures at writers’ retreats about why the conclusion of the original trilogy is so creatively satisfying.
As previously reported, the new films are expected to center on the next generation of heroes, with the studio hoping for appearances by Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford as (obviously) older versions of Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Han Solo. According to The Hollywood Reporter, there’s a good chance other characters from the previous chapters will appear– what’s a Star Wars film without C-3PO and R2-D2? — “even the dead Jedis, who have a habit of showing up in spirit form.”
Kennedy, who will become president of Lucasfilm when the Disney deal is finalized, is now tasked with finding a director. Although several top names have been mentioned, The Hollywood Reporter suggests Brad Bird (The Incredibles, Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol) may be a favorite.
Star Wars: Episode VII is targeted for a 2015 release.