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Michael Arndt in 2007
© AP file / Michael Arndt
Screenwriter Michael Arndt exits 'Star Wars: Episode VII'

NEW YORK (AP) — Screenwriter Michael Arndt is exiting "Star Wars: Episode VII" with director J.J. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan assuming scripting duties.

Lucasfilm made the unexpected announcement Thursday. Kasdan co-wrote "The Empire Strikes Back" and "Return of the Jedi," making him a revered figured in "Star Wars" lore. The 64-year-old scribe, who also wrote "Raiders of the Lost Ark," had been serving as a consultant on the film.

"There are few people who fundamentally understand the way a 'Star Wars' story works like Larry," Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy said in a statement. "Michael Arndt has done a terrific job bringing us to this point."

Arndt was named the sole screenwriter last year. He won an Oscar for the script to "Little Miss Sunshine," and also wrote "Toy Story 3" and "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire."

Shooting for "Star Wars: Episode VII" is to start in the spring, with the film due out in 2015.

Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Oct 25, 2013 5:00AM
has disney given johnny dept a drunkin jedi master role yet
Oct 25, 2013 7:10AM
Oct 25, 2013 7:02AM
Ok, so you don't really know why Michael Arndt "dropped out" of screenwriting the next "Star Wars" film?  Just say so already!!!  LOL.
Oct 25, 2013 1:45PM
To Disney......Don't get happy or stupid. Don't screw up the movies like Sony screwed up the game, Stick with what worked and with what became a multigeneration hit.
Oct 26, 2013 12:47AM
They're making a sequel to a film that is about 30 years old. Not a prequel, not a remake--a sequel, the easiest possible thing to screw up.

I see J.J. Abrams as Christopher Nolan with lots of milk and sugar. He gets the edge in right, but he doesn't throw in Nolan's moral stories and philosophical stuff. You can't make a sequel to a film 30 years old when not one of the original characters can reprise their role.

I really, REALLY think this should not be considered Episode VII, it should just be some sort of side-story to go along with things. Maybe something that happens at the same time as one of the other films, just from a whole new perspective to give lots of room for creative liberty. A sequel doesn't let you do that. But wouldn't a real side-story be more fun? An alternate viewpoint of sorts?

But they're not doing that. It's an entirely new extension of the film story arc. That's a lot harder, and really, is there one Star Wars fan that even allows themselves to consider the prequels canon as opposed to the roughly infinitely superior novelizations that weren't made exclusively for cash?

It's a 30-years-past sequel with virtually nothing to work with in terms of the original work. And nobody's panicked? I'm freaking panicked.
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