Sound the Star Wars News Klaxon (not, for once, the Rumour Alert Siren)! Sorry, we cannot report that Benedict Cumberbatch has been confirmed as a two-headed renegade former Sith, but the official Star Wars site has just put out word that J.J. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan are taking over script duties on Episode VII.
“But Empire,” we hear you say, “wasn’t Toy Story III’s Michael Arndt writing the screenplay?" And indeed he was, yet now he is not.
“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 says on the site. "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.”
So there you have it, folks: Herr director and Wars writing veteran Kasdan (who had already been actively involved in creating spin-off films for the new trilogy) are knuckling down to some screenplay time of their own.
The announcement also includes word of some of the behind-the-scenes folk assigned to the project, most of whom had already been announced. That list includes director of photography Dan Mindel, production designers Rick Carter and Darren Gilford, costume man Michael Kaplan, special effects guru Chris Corbould, sound designer Ben Burtt and VFX whizz Roger Guyett. Fans will immediately recognise that most of those names are either established members of Team J.J. or old Star Wars hands.
Oh, there’s still no confirmation on the release date; it’s still just listed as 2015.