Well, that was quick.
My guess at this point is that we’ll hear the name of the director making “Episode VII” before the end of November. If Lucasfilm and Disney were willing to announce the hiring of Michael Arndt today, then it’s obviously been in the works for a while, and they are most likely further along in the process than anyone guessed.
Star Wars.com posted another video today with George Lucas and Kathleen Kennedy, and they evidently plan to post a new video every week. I think it’s interesting to see how different their approach to talking to the audience is this time around than it was when they were gearing up for the prequel trilogy.
Since we now know that Michael Arndt is writing “Episode VII” and that he’s already written treatments for the trilogy, the big question is who will direct, and Kathleen Kennedy talks at length about what attributes they’re going to be looking for in a director. It should be no surprise that “enthusiasm for the series” is the most important thing. Kennedy is correct, of course, that there is a whole generation of filmmakers working today who were drawn to film in the first place by “Star Wars,” and I don’t think they’ll have any trouble finding people who are interested in playing in this universe.
The thing that will be hardest for any filmmaker to get right is tone. Even in the original trilogy, you could argue that “A New Hope,” “The Empire Strikes Back,” and “Return Of The Jedi” all feel like they have very different sensibilities. Getting the world of “Star Wars” right is about more than just aliens and spaceships and lightsabers. There’s a mix of action and humor and character that has eluded many imitators over the years, and it’ll be interesting to see if they’re able to pull it off with this movie.
Hiring Arndt sends a very specific message about the kind of film that Lucasfilm hopes to make, and we’ll know even more when we see who signs on to direct. Keep an eye out for that information sooner rather than later.
In the meantime, here’s today’s new video with Kennedy and Lucas:
“Star Wars Episode VII” will be in theaters the summer of 2015.