You might know Michael Arndt as the guy who used to be Matthew Broderick’s assistant, but, after quitting that job, he became the Oscar-winning screenwriter of Little Miss Sunshine and Oscar-nominated screenwriter of Toy Story 3. He also wrote the screenplay for the next Hunger Games movie and an upcoming Pixar movie. Vulture reports (and Deadline confirms) that Michael Arndt has also turned in a 40+ page treatment for next three Star Wars films. He was reportedly brought on last month, before the Disney deal was settled, to come up with ideas for a new trilogy that will likely bring back older versions of Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, and Han Solo. Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford aren’t officially signed yet, but they have expressed interest.
Vulture also reports that Arndt’s treatment is being sent to top directors including Brad Bird, Steven Spielberg, and J.J. Abrams. No director has been chosen yet, although Micheal Arndt is a good choice to write the scripts. He’s not only an Oscar winner, but also a huge Star Wars fan.
Arndt has lectured extensively on the art of storytelling at numerous writers’ retreats [...] always featuring a lengthy and detailed explanation of why the original Star Wars‘ ending is so creatively satisfying. 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.”
Indeed, in the third act of Star Wars, as Arndt explained to his young screenwriting Padawans at the 2009 Hawaii Writers Conference, its central characters’ main goals all are met on pages 89 through 91 of the original Lucas script: At the crescendo of Star Wars, a spectral Obi Wan urges, “Use the Force, Luke,” and he does, thus reaching his inner goal (fighting self-doubt to become a hero). Han Solo reappears (meeting the philosophical goal of overcoming selfishness with altruism) to shoot down Darth Vader, which allows Luke to use the Force to mentally guide his shot and blow up the Death Star (outer goal and inner goals simultaneously met). [Vulture]
Wait, so somebody who cares about story structure more than toy sales is handling the screenplay? Pardon us while we celebrate.