Oscar-winning scribe Michael Arndt ("Little Miss Sunshine", "Toy Story 3") has left his post as a screenwriter for the much-awaited "Star Wars Episode 7". J.J. Abrams assumes the script duties along with fellow writer Lawrence Kasdan.
Kasdan has worked with "Star Wars" creator George Lucas numerous times. He once wrote the screenplay for "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and served as a co-screenwriter for "Star Wars" films "The Empire Strikes Back" and "Return of the Jedi".
Before taking over the writing duty for "Episode 7" with Abrams, Kasdan has already been serving as a consultant on the development of the film which is planned as the first installment of a new trilogy. Abrams, meanwhile, is already on board as a director.
"I am very excited about the story we have in place and thrilled to have Larry and J.J. working on the script," states Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy. "There are very few people who fundamentally understand the way a Star 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," she adds.
Arndt reportedly has been working on the script for "Star Wars" new film even before Lufasfilm was bought by Disney. He was formally hired for the job in late 2012.
"Episode 7" is due summer 2015. "Star Wars Episode 8" will follow in 2017 and "Star Wars Episode 9" in 2019. Spin-off movies that focus on the "origin stories" are set to be released between the entries. No official cast has been announced, but Benedict Cumberbatch, Harrison Ford, Michael B. Jordan and Saoirse Ronan are among the actors rumored circling the project.