STAR WARS Silly Season Begins: We May Have a Writer! [UPDATED]

Jason Gorber, Featured Critic

Update: One day after the rumour broke, StarWars.com  has confirmed the news - Michael Arndt has been named as the writer for Episode VII.



It still is a bit amazing that one of the biggest secrets in Hollywood was kept as mum as it did  for so long, but now the rumour mills are rotating in full, um, "force" surrounding the making of the untitled Star Wars: Episode VII.

Just a few days ago, there was loads of talk about a project that Disney purchased last summer scripted by Damon Lindelof and with Brad Bird attached. Many quickly dismissed this idea, but the latest news put out by Vulture at least makes one feel that it might be true.

According to their sources, Michael Arndt is already hard at work on a script for the upcoming film. Arndt obviously well versed in the Disney practice of keeping secrets, having run that gauntlet with his scripting of Toy Story 3, for which he was Oscar nominated , and the next Pixar pic by Up's Pete Docter.

Arndt's also the brains behind the Oscar winning script for Little Miss Sunshine, which is a film that, when you think about it, kind of plays like a space-faring road trip movie, with a precocious young girl, a bunch of interesting characters, and a sad-sack, Obi-Wan like mentor with a taste for booze. Frankly, casting Steve Carell in a Star Wars film wouldn't be a terrible idea at all.

Vulture also reports that there's a push to bring back the three central protagonists from the original films. Again, I'd have thought only a week ago this idea preposterous, but given the stories coming out now of meetings with both Hamill and Fisher last June, and the fact that (according to EW) even Harrison Ford might be in, who the hell knows what may transpire. I can see Ford showing up if only to once-and-for-all kill off Solo, but as you can see, I've been wrong before.

The most interesting thing about the choice of Arndt is that he actually lecutures of the structure of the script for Star Wars. As reported by Vulture:

At these talks, Arndt always tells attendees that Star Wars' enduring appeal has to do with resolving its protagonists goals' nearly simultaneously, at the climax of the movie. In the comments section of a discussion about a Star Wars talk Arndt gave at the Austin Film Festival in 2010, one attendee of the seminar notes, "Arndt stated that if a writer could resolve the story's arcs (internal, external, philosophical) immediately after the Moment of Despair at the climax, he or she would deliver the Insanely Great Ending and put the audience in a euphoric state. The faster it could happen, the better. By [Arndt's] reckoning, George Lucas hit those three marks at the climax of Star Wars within a space of 22 seconds."

Indeed, in the third act of Star Wars, as Arndt explained to his young screenwriting Padawans at the 2009 Hawaii Writers Conference, its central characters' main goals all are met on pages 89 through 91 of the original Lucas script: At the crescendo of Star Wars, a spectral Obi Wan urges, "Use the Force, Luke," and he does, thus reaching his inner goal (fighting self-doubt to become a hero). Han Solo reappears (meeting the philosophical goal of overcoming selfishness with altruism) to shoot down Darth Vader, which allows Luke to use the Force to mentally guide his shot and blow up the Death Star (outer goal and inner goals simultaneously met).

Fascinating stuff, and only time will tell if any of these rumours, no matter how credible they seem, will come to pass.
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