When it was announced that “Star Wars: Episode VII” would be happening, many people rejoiced, and many others groaned. As much as I love the “Star Wars” movies, I was thoroughly entrenched in the latter group. After the prequel trilogy, I felt it was best to just leave the franchise alone. I’m not saying those films were terrible, but they certainly did nothing for the franchise other than line George Lucas’ pocket with infinity dollars. Nevertheless, it was an expansion on the franchise that is the godfather of modern geek culture, and a franchise that continues to garner new fans every day.
When J.J. Abrams was announced as the director, my hopes were raised a bit. Sure, he’s not the best director out there, but he’s certainly got a keen eye for the genre. I’ve never been a “Star Trek” fan, but his films have certainly been in my wheelhouse. They are thoroughly entertaining. It also helps that I’m an unabashed “Lost” fan. Not only that, but the writer they hired, Michael Arndt (“Little Miss Sunshine”, “Brave”, “Toy Story 3”, and the upcoming “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire”) has had an excellent track record so far.
Unfortunately, it seems Disney/Lucasfilm weren’t completely fulfilled by his product.
“I am very excited about the story we have in place and thrilled to have Larry and J.J. working on the script,” said 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.”
Essentially: “Thanks, but no thanks, Michael. We’ll take it from here.” That’s some great Hollywood spin work right there.
However, I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing. J.J. Abrams has come a long way as a writer (he did write the best “Mission Impossible” movie, after all.) Then there’s Lawrence Kasdan, who co-wrote the best “Star Wars” film in “The Empire Strikes Back”. He also co-wrote the weakest of the original trilogy in “Return of the Jedi”, but even that was good work. Kasdan, obviously, has a strong vision of the franchise and what it entails, so it’s in pretty safe hands. Kasdan was also already working on the film as an adviser, so his finger prints were all over it, anyway.
Shooting is scheduled to begin Spring 2014 at Pinewood Studios, in the U.K., for an expected 2015 release.
To read more visit Variety.