While nothing is confirmed at this point, Vulture is reporting that Oscar-winning scribe of Little Miss Sunshine Michael Arndt is the top choice to pen Star Wars: Episode VII.
Vulture reports that “insiders confirm that Arndt has written a 40- to 50-page treatment for the film and is likely to be at least one of the writers when the Disney/Lucasfilm project begins shooting in 2014.” While this hasn’t been confirmed by any means, Arndt seems like a worthy candidate given his short but impressive resume. In addition to winning an Oscar for Little Miss Sunshine, he also wrote Toy Story 3 and the Untitled Pixar Movie That Takes You Inside the Mind for Pixar, as well as The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.
As the report also notes, there were clues to this possibility as far back as two years ago, when Arndt lectured on storytelling at the Austin Film Festival in 2010, using Star Wars as an example. “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.”
Arndt certainly understands the appeal of the original Star Wars and what made it such an impressive feat from a storytelling standpoint, making it encouraging for fans if he does end up writing the full script for Star Wars: Episode VII. It’s important to keep in mind that while it does seem to be pretty clear that Arndt wrote the treatment for the film, that doesn’t necessarily confirm him to write the whole script, let alone write it solo.
Another thing to keep in mind is Arndt’s past with Disney, as Pixar (and in turn Disney) clearly love him as he earned them an Oscar win with Toy Story 3 and has written yet another script for Pete Doctor. Disney, LucasFilms, and Arndt’s representatives all declined comment on this report.
Update: Deadline has learned that Arndt will be writing an entire Star Wars trilogy for Disney:
Arndt was brought on board by Lucasfilm months ago to put together ideas to take the franchise forward, a source with knowledge of the situation says. This was before the October 30 $4 billion sale of George Lucas’ company to Disney was finalized, The result was the “pretty extensive and detailed treatment for what would be the next three movies, the trilogy,” that Disney CEO Bob Iger referred to when the company’s acquisition of Lucasfilm was announced.
The report from Vulture also notes that top Disney brass would like to see the original three leads – Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Princess Leia – return, particular Mark Hamill as Luke. We recently reported that Ford was “open” to returning, and reports say that Carrie Fisher is also open to the idea. That would mean the new film would have to take place quite some time after the original trilogy, as Mark Hamill is 61, Ford is 70, and Fisher is 56.
Vulture also states their sources expect the treatment to cross the desks of such top directors as Steven Spielberg, J.J. Abrams, and Brad Bird. Of course that doesn’t mean they’re necessarily interested, but it shows Disney is at least doing its due diligence.