With much bated breath we have waited to learn who will write the next three Star Wars films. Episode VII was announced for 2015, and it has been said that Disney intends to release many other episodes to follow.
Now it’s been made known who is responsible for the story and script for at least the next three films: Michael Arndt. Lucasfilm has confirmed that Michael is writing the Episode VII script and a treatment for VIII and IX as well.
Vulture has been told by its “informed sources” that such a 40–50 page treatment has indeed been finished, by none other than Oscar-winner Michael Arndt.
Arndt won his Academy Award for scripting Little Miss Sunshine; some four years later, he picked up an additional Oscar nod for his Toy Story 3 screenplay. He has since contributed to the scripts for the upcoming Tom Cruise sci-fi thriller Oblivion and Hunger Games sequel Catching Fire, as well as Pixar director Peter Docter’s followup to Up (with the playful working title The Untitled Pixar Movie That Takes You Inside the Mind). Hence, it would make perfect sense for Disney and LucasFilm to recruit Arndt to write up a story treatment for Episode VII, given his established relationship with the Mouse House (in combination with his stellar output to date).
What I have wanted to know from the get-go is what sort of writer would Disney entrust the Star Wars mythos to. Loyal Star Wars fans could only hope the writer was someone passionate about the original trilogy — as much as they are. Apparently, Michael fits the bill. He has given lectures where he uses Episode IV - A New Hope to teach the art of compelling film narrative.
At these talks, Arndt always tells attendees that Star Wars’ enduring appeal has to do with resolving its protagonists goals’ nearly simultaneously, at the climax of the movie. In the comments section of a discussion about a Star Wars talk Arndt gave at the Austin Film Festival in 2010, one attendee of the seminar notes, “Arndt stated that if a writer could resolve the story’s arcs (internal, external, philosophical) immediately after the Moment of Despair at the climax, he or she would deliver the Insanely Great Ending and put the audience in a euphoric state. The faster it could happen, the better. By [Arndt’s] reckoning, George Lucas hit those three marks at the climax of Star Wars within a space of 22 seconds.”
Color me impressed. Michael sounds like a thoughtful screenwriter, and that is just the sort I want for Star Wars movies to come. I love it that he is responsible for Toy Story 3’s screenplay. That movie brought me to tears of joy on multiple viewings. Michael’s script has to be responsible for much of its greatness.