Biggest Challenge to New 'Star Wars' Is Time, Screenwriter Says

Ron Shusett, who wrote the 1990 "Total Recall" and "Alien," tells THR the timing of the new adaptation could be tricky -- but that many other pieces are falling nicely into place.

The biggest challenge facing Star Wars: Episode VII isn't the writer -- Michael Arndt, who wrote Little Miss Sunshine and Toy Story 3 -- or the director, or the cast.

It's the tight timetable, says screenwriter Ron Shusett.

Shusett, who worked on Alien and the 1990 Total Recall, is impressed with Lucasfilm's choice of Arndt as its screenwriter. Arndt, working from a treatment by series creator George Lucas, will have to move quickly if the movie is to hit theaters in 2015, as Disney plans.

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"I don't think you could put a timetable on that, because the director isn't even there yet. What if they're not on the same page?" Shusett said. "It takes you until it takes you."

Since Arndt was hired, The Hollywood Reporter revealed that two other writers -- Simon Kinberg and Lawrence Kasdan -- have signed deals to write and produce new Star Wars episodes. A director for Episode VII has not yet been named, and several fan favorites like J.J. Abrams and Brad Bird have said they're not in the running. But according to Shusett, that's not much of an obstacle.

"Who directs it is crucial. But I don't think getting a director is a formidable challenge," Shusett said. "I think the next barrier or challenge would be the casting. That's the tricky or difficult part."

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Either way, it's an exciting time to be a fan of the series, the screenwriter says.

"I, like every other sci-fi fan in the world, am waiting for a new Star Wars movie that works," Shusett said. "It's sad that this generation is deprived of seeing Star Wars at its dazzling best."