It's official: Oscar-winning Little Miss Sunshine screenwriter Michael Arndt has signed up to script Star Wars: Episode VII.
Reports last week suggested that Arndt had already produced a story outline for the film, and an announcement posted on the official Star Wars website has since confirmed that he will pen Episode VII.
The statement said: “As pre-production of Star Wars: Episode VII begins, Lucasfilm has confirmed that award-winning writer Michael Arndt will write the screenplay for the new Star Wars film. [Lucasfilm president] Kathleen Kennedy and [Star Wars creator] George Lucas have begun story conferences with Arndt.”
Arndt has also scripted Toy Story 3, Oblivion and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. In 2007, he won an Oscar for his Little Miss Sunshine screenplay and in 2011 earned a nomination for his work on the Toy Story sequel.
But while Episode VII now has a writer, the film still lacks a director. Star Trek's JJ Abrams, who had been linked to the project, recently denied that he would be taking the reins on the new Star Wars movie.
He told The Playlist: “Star Wars is one of my favourite movies of all time. I almost feel that, in a weird way, the opportunity for whomever it is to direct that movie, it comes with the burden of being that kind of iconic movie and series.
“I was never a big Star Trek fan growing up so, for me, working on Star Trek didn’t have any of that, you know, almost fatal sacrilege, and so, I am looking forward more than anyone to the next iterations of Star Wars, but I believe I will be going as a paying moviegoer.”
In a YouTube video released on Friday, George Lucas and Kathleen Kennedy revealed that they are seeking a bona fide fan of the series to direct the new picture: