Disney may be eyeing Toy Story 3 writer to pen Star Wars: Episode VII, so get ready for space tears?

Nothing is official yet, but Vulture is reporting that a possible candidate to write the screenplay for Star Wars: Episode VII is Michael Arndt, an Oscar winner for writing Little Miss Sunshine and a nominee for the emotionally-charged Toy Story 3. Arndt, according to Vulture, wrote a 40-50-page treatment for the next installment of George Lucas' classic franchise and Disney/Lucasfilm liked it a lot. Even better, the writer had been working on this before the merger last week, so they didn't have to vet a bunch of losers first!

But seriously -- Michael Arndt might be perfect for this.

Indeed, Disney/Lucasfilm may have themselves a scribe who has proved he can tell a story that will touch our hearts and our funny bones, as well as take us on an exciting journey with wonderful characters -- with great dialogue! Just imagine -- a Star Wars movie that makes you cry. A Star Wars movie that could be nominated for fancy awards, and not just by MTV, like it was in its glorious 1970s heyday! Can you even imagine Han Solo dying now? A Han Solo death brought to you by Michael Arndt would be devastating. Social media -- no, the entire internet would collapse under all that nerd-motional weight.

But the thing that makes Arndt an incredibly qualified candidate: besides being a great writer of non-Star Wars movies (he's also writing a secret movie for Pixar as well as The Hunger Games: Catching Fire), he is a full-fledged Star Wars expert:

Since winning the Oscar for Sunshine, Arndt has lectured extensively on the art of storytelling at numerous writers’ retreats, like the Hawaii Writers Conference in Maui and the Austin Film Festival, always featuring a lengthy and detailed explanation of why the original Star Wars’ ending is so creatively satisfying...
"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."

Those 22 seconds take place roughly around pages 89 to 91 of the script, at which point the aforementioned climax occurs when the ghostly Obi Wan Kenobi utters "Use the Force, Luke." The point is, Michael Arndt has dissected and studied this script as if he were trying to discover the exact location in the brain that makes people either saints or assholes. This is a guy who can be very, very trusted to take on a beloved franchise, because it is beloved by him. Neither Lucasfilm, Disney, nor Arndt's camp are offering up any official comments, but if Arndt is ultimately chosen, he would be one of the best possible people for the very daunting task.

Star Wars: Episode VII May Have Found Its Writer [Vulture]


  1. This is promising. But really, does Star Wars need to continue the story of the original saga? There are an almost infinite number of stories in the Star Wars universe. Identification with the old protagonists is fine, but at this point it really isn’t possible except in an Indiana Jones 4 sort of way. I think they should go for a clean break like in KOTOR (which is the best Star Wars story since A New Hope).

  2. I just hope they’re careful treading on the toes of the Expanded Universe. I’ve never read much of the Star Wars fiction because whilst I have a nostalgic love for the series, I prefer some science in my sci-fi as an adult. However, I know there’s a lot of very good writers, solid storytelling and FANS in the books, and I’d hate to see fellow geeks go through the anguish of seeing a universe they love burn.

    1. I’m with you.  I was pretty annoyed at how Abrams, Orci, & Kurtzman weren’t content to just reboot the Star Trek franchise, but actually went to the trouble of annihilating every single event from the ten movies and 627 television episodes (not counting Enterprise) that came before their movie.  The least they could have done was left Nimoy out of it.

      Anyway, I’m not terribly worried.  Two generations of fans have grown up with the SW universe, and many people who work as science fiction writers, movie directors, special effects technicians, etc., decided they wanted to do this kinda stuff for a living as a direct result of having their minds blown by seeing Star Wars as a kid.  Probably some astronauts, too.  And there’s one thing that absolutely everyone with even a passing interest in Star Wars on a creative level knows very well indeed: how George screwed up.  Even people who genuinely like the prequels understand that a whole lot of people don’t like them.  The most philistine, dollar-chasing, bottom-line-fixated studio accountant recognizes that, adjusting for inflation, the old SW movies are #2, #12, and #15 on the all-time box office list  whereas the prequels are #16, #87, and #60 on that list.

      For once, it simply makes prudent financial sense for Disney to have a good script in hand before they shoot.  This brand is already damaged by prioritizing story and character below VFX and kiddie appeal.  And Disney certainly wants to get its money’s worth out of that $4 billion investment.  One more bad movie on the level of, say, Attack of the Clones will keep audiences away for a generation.

      1. Yeah, Star Trek’s had a rough treatment, and even though I’ve come to terms with the new continuity, I think my initial response to the news of the reboot is what makes me feel so strongly for the fans of the SW fiction.

      2. I was pretty annoyed at how Abrams, Orci, & Kurtzman weren’t content to just reboot theStar Trek franchise, but actually went to the trouble of annihilating every single event from the ten movies and 627 television episodes (not counting Enterprise) that came before their movie.  The least they could have done was left Nimoy out of it.

        I’m going with the idea that the reboot movie is just a minor offshoot of the original universe. The books are continuing on in the original universe. Star Trek Online takes place in the original timeline after the events that led up to the reboot movie (Romulus blowing up and such). With new movies, they seem to want to play in the offshoot timeline, but Michael Dorn wants to do a Captain Worf series as well. Both timelines can exist at the same time.

        1. Yeah, that’s a good way to look at it.  I just don’t have any interest in seeing the new movie.  I’ve lost interest in the characters because of what Abrams et al turned them into.

  3. “George Lucas hit those three marks at the climax of Star Wars within a space of 22 seconds.”
    I’d say Marcia Lucas’ kick-ass Oscar-winning editing had a lot to do with SW’s satisfying conclusion.

  4. Toy Story 3 was okay, but with one glaring flaw; Buzz Lightyear would never give up and hold hands as he slides towards his doom.  Whoever wrote that should hang up his keyboard.

  5. toy story 3 should have ended the series, not create a gaping hole in the narration, only to ensure more Pixar shorts and TS films. I hope the new Star Wars doesn’t have cheap, sexist Ken-doll jokes.

  6. Star Wars could do much worse than Mr. Arndt. I have attended his talks on story structure and “insanely great endings” …the guy knows his business and knows how to write a great story. I’m actually MORE likely to attend a new SW movie if I know he is the writer.

  7. Both Toy Story 3 and Little Miss Sunshine have strong themes of letting go of something you love for bigger and better things.  A perfect fit for Star Wars fandom.

  8. How about Stanton?  I would trust the guy responsible for Wall-E with Star Wars. I love that Wall-E went the extra step; it didn’t explore the oft-tread “does an AI have a soul?” and instead just told a good story about a machine with all kinds of soul.

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