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‘Empire Strikes Back’ Writer Lawrence Kasdan, ‘X-Men’ Scribe Simon Kinberg Could Write Star Wars Episode VIII & IX

'Empire Strikes Back' Writer Lawrence Kasdan, 'X-Men' Scribe Simon Kinberg Could Write Star Wars Episode VIII & IX

The “Star Wars” rumor mill keeps ticking along, and while we still don’t know who’s directing that first new movie, Episode VII, it seems that Disney and new Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy are already starting to think of the future. After all, they allegedly have outlines for a new trilogy of films from George Lucas, which has been expanded into treatments by “Toy Story 3” writer Michael Arndt, who’s also penning Episode VII. And while that film is still at least three years away, it looks like we might have writers for further installments, and at least one of them will make fans very, very happy.

Deadline report that, while nothing has been signed, Disney have made approaches to Lawrence Kasdan and Simon Kinberg to write the scripts for Episode VIII and Episode IX, presumably respectively. Kasdan’s credits include “Body Heat,” “The Big Chill,” “Silverado,” “The Bodyguard” and, most recently, “Darling Companion,” but he also has a long history with Lucas, penning both “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and, crucially, “The Empire Strikes Back,” the first “Star Wars” sequel, and the one deemed by anyone with a brain and a heart to be the best of the series. There’d be a nice circularity to him working on the middle installment of the series, even if Kasdan’s been off his game for a while (remember “Dreamcatcher?”…)

Kinberg probably won’t make fans so happy; he broke through with the script for “Mr. & Mrs. Smith,” and also has credits on “Sherlock Holmes,” “Jumper” and “This Means War,” the latter two of which he was also a producer on. He’s probably best known for his involvement in the “X-Men” franchise, though; he was one of the writers on “X-Men: The Last Stand,” produced “X-Men: First Class,” and is back behind a copy of final draft for the upcoming “X-Men: Days Of Future Past.”

We suppose that he’s a relatively safe pair of franchise hands, but we honestly can’t think of a project that Kinberg’s been involved in that we liked, so if Kennedy and Disney are after someone to deliver a finale to the new trilogy of a “Return Of The Jedi” level of quality, they might have the right guy (and to clarify, that’s not a compliment). Still, maybe he’ll end up rising to the occasion. Neither are confirmed at this point, but we can’t see any reason why either writer would turn down the gig, so expect an official announcement soon.

Meanwhile, we don’t seem to be any closer to learning who could direct Episode VII, but one of the more plausible, and intriguing candidates have ruled themselves out. Colin Trevorrow, who made his debut this year with indie “Safety Not Guaranteed,” has been linked to the project for a while, but as pointed out by Bleeding Cool, he tweeted a couple of days ago “To clarify, there is another film we all love that I’m currently trying not to mess up. Odds I will direct Episode VII: 3720 to 1,” and then added, when asked if he was out of the running, “That is what I’m saying.” Unless there’s some elaborate decoy game going on, it looks like he’s out; which is a shame, as we were big fans of “Safety Not Guaranteed,” and Trevorrow was one of the more interesting names out there. Ah, well.

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