Open Thread: Arndt Out, Kasdan & Abrams Take Over Script

star wars.com dropped the bomb today that Michael Arndt got the boot as screenwriter. Lawrence Kasdan and JJ Abrams will crank out the script now. Careful readers will notice that filming, originally planned for early ’14, has been bumped back to “Spring 2014” while still assuring that the film will be out “Summer 2015.”

It’s never bad news to have Kasdan around but it’s not so good news that they’ve had to start from scratch this late in the game and that has obviously pushed back filming. Bottom line, “they” thought Arndt’s script sucked, so now these guys have to pull the fat out of the fire.

The other thing that concerns me is the small army of producers and executive producers. Too many cooks spoil the broth.

But we are getting saga alum Ben Burtt back as well as prequel alumni Matthew Wood and Roger Guyette. That’s good.

You can read more of my thoughts here.

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17 Responses to “Open Thread: Arndt Out, Kasdan & Abrams Take Over Script”

  1. Matt Robert McKenzie Says:

    I don’t think Arndt’s script went entirely tits up but re-writes, they do that… But I don’t trust Abrams as a writer. Director? Fine, but if he so much as tells the EU to go ram it, I’d be (unhappy).

    I did approve the comment but I don’t allow threats. Please read the RULES OF THE HOUSE PAGE. Thanks!

    • lazypadawan Says:

      Chances are pretty good they are not going to adapt the EU into movies. Since I gave up on the post-ROTJ continuity after Jaina killed Darth Jacen–it disgusted me they did that to Han and Leia, after Anakin Solo was killed off–it would be okay by me.

  2. Eddie Says:

    This news dropping has once again shown the vast majority of SW fandom to be made up of millions of nervous, yapping, fatalist Chihuahuas (skimming through TFN, you’d think the whole ST was cancelled!!). Although Kathy Kennedy was speaking in “stab ’em with a smile” press release language, even reading between the lines, it doesn’t make me think that every single thing Michael Arndt did was scrapped…but a lot of the online uproar is coming from that inveterate dolt Devin Faraci, of the idiotically-named “Badass Digest”, who’s claiming that his “sources” are telling him that “This isn’t a rewrite, this is a completely different movie with different main characters.”. io9 and The Huffington Post heavily used his info as their source, and now, since the dumbest people are also usually the loudest people, that’s the narrative. Nevermind that Faraci has long been vocally contemptuous of Star Wars and it’s fans, this negative angle on the story gets the most hits. The only worthwhile thing he does include in his article is this: “…I heard they scrapped the entire Arndt script as early as July…”, which would mean that Abrams and Kasdan have been working on a new script for 3-4 months already. Just because this announcement came out today, doesn’t mean it happened today.

    What’s really bizarre is all the people who, without having read a single word of Arndt’s script, are saying that the movie will now “suck” (and I’ve seen multiple people saying this today). I don’t know who this “Matt Thompson” dude is, but he had this exchange on twitter with “Quint” from AICN:

    Eric Vespe ‏@EricVespe 8h

    I’ve heard from sources that those who read Arndt’s EpVII draft thought it was pure Star Wars and fantastic. Apparently Abrams disagreed.
    Expand
    Matt Thompson ‏@AssortedMatt 8h

    @EricVespe I’ve heard it was a pure prequel apology tour. That’s the wrong approach.

    …who knows where/if he really heard that, but I highly doubt that anybody here would want a “pure prequel apology tour”! Nobody will really know, until the hopefully inevitable Rinzler “Making of Star Wars 7” book 😉 , what Arndt’s script was like, so what’s the point in bemoaning it being replaced or heavily altered? That’s like saying the cake you’re going to bake next week is the best thing you’ve ever eaten, and every other cake sucks.

    Like you said on your Livejournal, LP, I hope that whatever Abrams and Kasdan come up with contains as much Lucas as possible–and coupling this news with the recent Jett Lucas interview where he said JJ and George were chatting all the time, maybe it’s even possible that George changed his mind about some ideas since working with Arndt in 2012? Of course, people are already spinning this to fit their own Lucas-hating agendas—like, unsurprisingly, the Lords and Ladies of Dumbed-Down GeekChic™ at io9:

    “He doesn’t say if this means they’re throwing out the original Lucas outline, but it certainly sounds like it. Good. If the script’s not right, don’t make it.”

    Zzzzzzzzzzz.

    Something else that puts everything into perspective is that the Avengers sequel—which will also be heavy with SFX and post-production—doesn’t start shooting until the beginning of March 2014, and that’s already got a release date of May 1, 2015…that timetable from the marketing expo that JediNews ran last week still said “Summer 2015” for SW7, so we’ll see!

    • Bob Clark Says:

      I have to wonder what “prequel apology tour” means in this context– does it mean it’s from the point of view of “prequel apologists”, as in trying to incorporate stuff from the prequels and show what was good? Or does it mean it’s trying to apologize to the haters for the prequels by loading the film with OT fanservice? If the rumors are true, I’m hoping the Arndt script was thrown out for being more like the latter, as the last thing the series needs is to rehash 30/40 year old films. Considering the assembly of prequel collaborators that are on the team at Abram’s behest, I’d like to think there’s a more cohesive treatment of the whole saga-hitherto in the film he has in mind. But we’ll see, won’t we?

      Or of course this’ll all get cancelled, which frankly wouldn’t dispelase me. The saga’s done, the six films are great, don’t mess with adding more to it– fine by me. Or Abrams will get cold feet again (allegedly) and Lucas will pick up the slack to direct again from a script by Abrams and Kasdan. That’s what I’d hope for, but I’m not making any bets.

      • Eddie Says:

        Hey Bob, here’s the full exchange:

        Eric Vespe ‏@EricVespe 9h

        I’ve heard from sources that those who read Arndt’s EpVII draft thought it was pure Star Wars and fantastic. Apparently Abrams disagreed.

        Matt Thompson ‏@AssortedMatt 9h

        @EricVespe I’ve heard it was a pure prequel apology tour. That’s the wrong approach.

        Eric Vespe ‏@EricVespe 8h

        @AssortedMatt If that’s true then absolutely. I hated the prequels, but I’d roll my eyes at constant apologies. Just tell a good story

        Matt Thompson ‏@AssortedMatt 5h

        @EricVespe Pretty much. All you’d do is annoy the haters for bringing them up and anger the lovers for pissing on them. It’s lose-lose.
        Expand

        …so I definitely took it as the latter.

    • lazypadawan Says:

      THE time to panic is if the writers keep changing and we end up with an Alan Smithee-type writing credit ;).

      We’ll know the full story once we get The Making Of Episode VII but if Arndt’s idea was to come up with a “prequel apology tour” or to try and imitate the first set of films, then it’s just as well. It wouldn’t be terribly imaginative and what good does it do to attack a big chunk of Lucas’s creation?

      I thought JN’s explanation was perhaps a little too sugar-coated. I doubt they hired this guy just to throw together some ideas and give it over to somebody else. Maybe Kasdan and Abrams have been working on the script for a longer time than we think, but I still figure that Arndt’s original drafts weren’t doing it for TPTB for some reason.

      • Eduardo Vargas Says:

        I don’t think that GL’s ideas were just thrown out of the water, along with his characters. At least, not with him overseeing things and Kathy Kennedy also seeing things. So far, things seem to be going well for Rebels. Why can’t they go well for the other side of Lucasfilm?

  3. Eddie Says:

    This is a nice balm to all the hysteria:
    http://www.jedinews.co.uk/news/news.aspx?newsID=14101

  4. peacetrainjedi Says:

    Well at least these films will sound good. Ben Burtt’s innovative sounds alongside John Williams’ music, and Matthew Wood as supervising sound editor means these films will be 100% Star Wars in that regard, WITHOUT A DOUBT.

    At this point, I ignore 99.7% of the other articles out there. If I see a news break, I’ll go back to the original source (Star Wars.com) and just ignore the other hater-obsessed sites. I think we have little to worry with Kasdan, but I’m not sure how I feel about JJ becoming so involved with the story…Eddie pointed out that some person is saying the Arndt script might have been too original trilogy focused, but Abrams is also really a sucker for nostalgia and older film callbacks, but then so was George Lucas. Let’s just hope JJ doesn’t use the original Star Wars films as his only source of callbacks in the new film. I’m hoping something similar to George’s many tributes to Flash Gordon or his tribute to the wonderful Ray Harryhausen in the Attack of the Clones Obi-Wan vs. Acklay scene. 🙂

    About the shooting schedule and release date…I am undecided. As Eddie said, the Marvel films go through SFX and post production faster than a gundark with its ears lopped off, so I’m assuming they will push the Star Wars films through post at the same breakneck speed. I think having a proper 3 year wait might do the film some good in many respects, but it looks like the “faster=better” model is here to stay. And you’re right, LP, too many producers creates an incongruous film. I feel like Episode VII is one the edge of a knife. One wrong move and things fall apart. There is tremendous talent in the team that’s been gathered, though, so here’s hoping….

  5. ladylavinia1932 Says:

    This isn’t anything new. Remember what happened with “THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK”? Lucas hired Leigh Brackett to write the script. She turned it in before her death. However, Lucas was unsatisfied with it and re-wrote the screenplay with Lawrence Kasdan (again). However, he gave Brackett screen credit for her efforts.

    The situation with the EPISODE VII screenplay sounds similar to me.

    • Bob Clark Says:

      What this story underlines for me, however, is the fact that this will be the first SW feature that Lucas hasn’t written or co-written the screenplay for. ESB and ROTJ were collaborations with Kasdan, but Lucas wasn’t out of the picture. Even with the story credit, though, his involvement with this film is far lower than it was on most of the OT.

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