A long time ago, in a galaxy, far, far away — well, to be more precise, it was 2012 on Earth — “Little Miss Sunshine” and “Toy Story 3” scribe Michael Arndt was announced as the screenwriter for the then untitled, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” However, the writer was replaced soon thereafter by J.J. Abrams and franchise veteran Lawrence Kasdan. “It became clear that given the time frame and given the process and the way the thing was going that working with Larry in this way was going to get us where we need to be and when we needed to be,” Abrams said in 2013. “Working with Larry Kasdan, especially on a ‘Star Wars’ movie is kind of unbeatable.” Between the lines, Abrams may have been addressing the crush to meet a 2015 release date (he and producer Kathleen Kennedy had asked Disney for a May 2016 bow, but were denied) but it’s clear the process required someone who has going to be following the production every step of the way, not just knocking out a script and moving on. However, it seems Arndt is still getting some due.
As you already know, the poster for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” was unveiled over the weekend, and as Film Divider noticed, Arndt is given a co-writing credit. My guess? Whatever he came up with was nominally used, but the bulk of ‘The Force Awakens’ is from the brain of Abrams and Kasdan, but writer’s guild rules likely require Arndt’s credit. Still, it’ll be interesting to see after the movie is released, not just what the story is, but whose fingerprints are where on the screenplay.
Meanwhile, looking ahead, Latino Review has an interesting tidbit about Garth Edwards‘ “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.” The site is reporting that Christopher McQuarrie (“Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation,” “Jack Reacher“) spent two weeks doing a polish on the script. Gary Whitta (“Book Of Eli,” “After Earth“) had originally been attached to write the screenplay, but Chris Weitz took over. There’s no word on where McQuarrie might’ve come into the process, but let’s hope he was just tightening up the nuts and bolts, and that there aren’t any bigger issues at play.
‘The Force Awakens‘ is here on December 18th, ‘Rogue One‘ follows on December 16, 2018.