Yesterday was a big day for Star Wars fans as some big rumors were printed that might offer the first indication of who will be writing the first post-George Lucas film, Episode VII, and the big names in line to direct it.
The first report came from Vulture who claim “informed sources” have told them that Michael Arndt, the Pixar talent who scooped up an Academy Award for his work on Toy Story 3, had written a 40-50 page treatment for the new Star Wars sequel. It is their understanding that Arndt wrote this treatment long before Disney purchased Lucasfilm and George Lucas handed over the keys to his galaxy far, far away to Kathleen Kennedy, a former producing partner of Steven Spielberg.
Their sources also claim that Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher are all wanted to reprise the roles of Han Solo, Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia, respectively. This direction jives with Lucas spilling the beans about a meeting he had with Hamill and Fisher last summer to let them in on the Star Wars plan. Even Ford recently was reported to be open to the idea of returning.
The last bit of info these “informed sources” passed along were the potential Episode VII directors Lucasfilm and Kennedy want to target first. That short list includes Brad Bird (The Incredibles, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol), Steven Spielberg (Lincoln) and J.J. Abrams (Star Trek Into Darkness). The idea is Lucasfilm would go after the top talent first and then work their way down a list if the likes of Spielberg can’t be wrangled in.
It’s hard to imagine Spielberg will have time in his hectic schedule to fit in Star Wars. He already has the big sci-fi film Robopocalypse on deck, and several other producing projects in line after that. Abrams directing schedule is wide open, at least as far as we know, and Brad Bird has 1906 to direct at some point in the near future.
Deadline followed up Vulture’s report by confirming it, then adding that Arndt has actually written treatments for three more Star Wars films. This would fit in with Disney CEO Bob Iger’s remark about a new trilogy in the press release issued to announce Disney’s purchase of Lucasfilm.
In addition to Toy Story 3, Arndt penned Little Miss Sunshine and also next year’s The Hunger Games: Catching Fire for Lionsgate. If Lucasfilm and Disney decide to move forward with his treatments, which all indications right now are they will, Arndt would work on the screenplay for Star Wars: Episode VII early next year.