Writer Michael Arndt Exits 'Star Wars: Episode VII'

JJ Abrams Lawrence Kasdan Split - H 2013
<p>JJ Abrams Lawrence Kasdan Split - H 2013</p>   |   Getty Images
Director J.J. Abrams and longtime Lucasfilm collaborator Lawrence Kasdan are handling script duties for the franchise's newest installment.

Michael Arndt is no longer writing the script for Star Wars: Episode VII.

Screenwriting duties are being taken over by Lawrence Kasdan, who co-wrote Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back and Raiders of the Lost Ark, and by J.J. Abrams, who is already on board as director.

"I am very excited about the story we have in place and thrilled to have Larry and J.J. working on the script," Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy said in a post on StarWars.com. "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."

Arndt has been working on Star Wars even before Disney announced it was buying Lucasfilm in October 2012, writing a 40- to 50-page treatment for Episode VII. The announcement also contained the news that Disney was planning new movies in the Star Wars universe, including Episode VII, with a 2015 release planned. Then in late 2012, Arndt was formally hired to write the screenplay.

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While George Lucas is considered the author of the stories for the Star Wars movies, the screenplays for both The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi were written with collaborators.

Kasdan and Leigh Brackett collaborated on the script for Empire -- considered by many fans and most critics to be the best story of all the Star Wars movies -- and also worked with Lucas on Return.

The Episode VII script news was announced on StarWars.com, which also revealed the below-the-line crew that Abrams has assembled, which includes Dan Mindel, the director of photography behind Abrams' Mission: Impossible III, Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness.

Also on board are production designers Rick Carter (Lincoln, Avatar) and Darren Gilford (Oblivion, TRON: Legacy), costume designer Michael Kaplan (Star Trek Into Darkness, Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol, Fight Club), special effects supervisor Chris Corbould (The Dark Knight Rises, Inception), sound designer Ben Burtt (Wall-E, Star Wars: Episodes I-VI), re-recording mixer Gary Rydstrom (Jurassic Park, Saving Private Ryan), supervising sound editor Matthew Wood (The Master, There Will Be Blood) of Skywalker Sound, and visual effects supervisor Roger Guyett (Star Trek Into Darkness, Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith) of Industrial Light & Magic.