Star Wars Changes Writers: JJ Abrams, Lawrence Kasdan Replace Michael Arndt

Star Wars: Episode VII has changed writers, with the seventh installment’s director, JJ Abrams, and Lawrence Kasdan, the co-writer of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, replacing Michael Arndt in the position.

Lucasfilm announced the decision on Thursday evening, confirming that Arndt, who won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay in 2006 for his work on Little Miss Sunshine, had left the project.

Currently, Star Wars: Episode VII is slated for a 2015 release. However, this date is still not set in stone. Lucasfilm remains confident that they will begin shooting in Spring 2014, despite this writing shake-up.

Lucasfilm’s president Kathleen Kennedy didn’t sound too downhearted about the decision.

In her statement announcing the reshuffle, Kennedy explained her motives:

“I am very excited about the story we have in place and thrilled to have Larry and J.J. working on the script. 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.”

She went on to add:

“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.”

Despite the departure of Arndt, who was also nominated for another screenwriting Oscar in 2011 for his work on Toy Story 3, Star Wars: Episode VII still has two very capable screenwriters in Kasdan and Abrams.

Abrams started his career as a screenwriter, scripting Taking Care Of Business, Regarding Henry, Forever Young, and Armageddon, which were released in 1990, 1991, 1992, and 1998 respectively. He then wrote and directed Mission Impossible III and Super 8 and directed Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness.

Meanwhile, Lawrence Kasdan was instrumental in helping to mold the original Star Wars trilogy, co-writing the fifth and sixth editions to George Lucas’ series. He was also employed as a consultant for the second trilogy.

Kasdan was the writer-director of numerous acclaimed dramas outside of the celebrated Star Wars universe, having worked on Body Heat, The Big Chill, and The Accidental Tourist.

Are you excited about the return of Star Wars? Do you think Lucasfilm made a mistake replacing Arndt with Abrams and Kasdan?