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Michael Arndt is off STAR WARS: EPISODE VII and J.J. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan are now scripting!

Hey Yo, Draven here.

We have been hearing for a little while now that this was happening and a new announcement from confirms it. J.J. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan are writing the STAR WARS: EPISODE VII script and Michael Arndt’s script from George Lucas’ outline is supposedly out. Here is their official statement:

As Episode VII continues pre-production, Lawrence Kasdan and director J.J. Abrams have assumed screenwriting duties for the film. Kasdan, who has been serving as a consultant on the film, is a veteran of several classic Lucasfilm productions, writing the screenplay for Raiders of the Lost Ark and serving as co-screenwriter for The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Acclaimed director and screenwriter Abrams' credits include Super 8Mission: Impossible IIIFringe, 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," 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."

Location scouting, production design, casting, and costume design are already underway on Episode VII. A team of gifted artists are working to bring the latest installment of the Star Wars saga, including director of photography Dan Mindel (Mission: Impossible IIIStar TrekStar Trek Into Darkness), production designers Rick Carter (LincolnAvatarForrest Gump) and Darren Gilford (OblivionTRON: Legacy), costume designer Michael Kaplan (Star Trek Into DarknessMission: Impossible - Ghost ProtocolFight Club),special effects supervisor Chris Corbould (Skyfall,The Dark Knight RisesInception), sound designer Ben Burtt (LincolnWall-EStar Wars: Episodes I-VI), re-recording mixer Gary Rydstrom (Jurassic ParkSaving Private RyanToy StoryMission: Impossible -Ghost Protocol), supervising sound editor Matthew Wood (Star Trek Into DarknessThe MasterThere Will Be Blood) of Skywalker Sound, and visual effects supervisor Roger Guyett (Star Trek Into DarknessPirates of the Caribbean: At World's EndStar Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith) of Industrial Light & Magic. Kathleen Kennedy, J.J. Abrams, and Bryan Burk are producing, with Tommy Harper (Mission: Impossible - Ghost ProtocolJack RyanStar Trek Into Darkness) and Jason McGatlin (Tintin,War of the Worlds) serving as executive producers. John Williams is returning to score Star Wars: Episode VII.

Shooting is scheduled to begin Spring 2014 at Pinewood Studios for an expected 2015 release.

This is obviously huge news and comes almost exactly a year after the announcement Disney made announcing EPISODE VII. While having the co-writer of THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK is great, it does lead to a lot of questions.

How much turmoil is there going on behind the scenes right now? What is the planned release date? (This statement now only says “an expected 2015 release” no longer Summer 2015.) It also now says that production is expected to begin Spring 2014 rather than January. I really doubt Abrams and company can have a post-production schedule of less than a year for a film of this magnitude. And, what about casting and all of the rumors of auditions? Are those thrown out the window now and casting begins from scrap? How much involvement is George Lucas going to have from this point forward? 

I am sure they have been writing this new script and working from it for months now but it does raise some concerns. This announcement probably means everything is squared away now but it just confirms a lot of the more interesting rumors that have been surrounding this project.

What do you guys think? Is this concerning to you?

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