Star Wars VII: JJ Abrams & Lawrence Kasdan rewriting Michael Arndt

Last November, Toy Story 3, Little Miss Sunshine writer and stupid hat wearer Michael Arndt was announced as the writer of Star Wars Episode 7. Today, Disney and Lucasfilm released a statement saying director JJ Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan will be taking over writing duties. Kasdan, of course, is most famous for writing The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, while Abrams is the little known writer/producer/director behind such arthouse fare as Star Trek and Lost.

“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 said in a statement. “There are very few people who fundamentally understand the way aStar 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.”

Shooting on “Episode VII” is scheduled to begin in the spring at Pinewood Studios, with the movie set for a 2015 release. [via LATimes]

I love the fake positive spin press releases put on everything. “…And a special thanks to Michael Arndt, who did such an amazing job on his draft that we’re hiring two new people to change it completely. Couldn’t have done it without you, Mikey!”

Anyway, it’s hard to be excited or disappointed by this news just yet. Kasdan did Empire, and Abrams’ writing credits range from Mission Impossible 3 to Super 8. I just hope they look forward, not back. If the endings of Man of Steel and Star Trek 2 have taught us anything, it’s that the last thing we need is screenwriters trying to do an homage to some movie they loved as kids. Which is going to be damn near impossible with a franchise like Star Wars, where every jackass claims ownership and has his own ideas about what the “rules” of the canon are. I just hope Disney has locked Abrams and Kasdan in some kind of dandruff-proof isolation bunker deep inside NORAD, where they’ll be safe from armchair quarterbacks and beard lice.