We'd heard tale of George Lucas and J.J. Abrams oh-so-frequently collaborating via phone tag on the story for "Star Wars: Episode VII," and we did have to wonder what that meant for the film's
poor little underling hired screenwriter Michael Arndt ("Toy Story 3," "Little Miss Sunshine") ... and now we know.
Basically, Arndt must have been pretty extraneous to the epic brain-trust that is J.J. Abrams and the O.G. "Star Wars" team because he has officially gone bye-bye from the project with a farewell salute that kinda reads like a subtle "don't let the door hit'cha" send-off. Ow.
StarWars.com has announced that Abrams and scribe Lawrence Kasdan (who co-penned "Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back" and "Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi") have now "assumed the screenwriting duties for the film."
As if they weren't already running the show. The presser even notes that Kasdan had been working as a "consultant" on "Star Wars: Episode VII" before the announcement, and goodness knows Abrams has been all over that business since day one.
Anyway, Lucasfilm prez Kathleen Kennedy paid a little lip service to the ousted Arndt, saying he did "a terrific job bringing us to this point." Ya know, the point where he gets kicked to the curb and J.J. and Larry K. are summoned to heroically finish 'er up before production. Her words were kind enough, sure, but when compared to the lavish praise she heaped on the other two ... well, she may as well have spit his name.
"I am very excited about the story we have in place and thrilled to have Larry and J.J. working on the script," Kennedy said. "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." As for the ridiculously-on-top-of-sh*t Abrams, Kennedy called him "an incredible storyteller in his own right."
Guess this Funny or Die video wasn't so far off the mark after all?
"Star Wars: Episode VII" is scheduled to hit theaters in 2015.