‘Star Wars: Episode VII’: J.J. Abrams, Lawrence Kasdan to pen script

Oct. 24, 2013 | 12:35 p.m.

J.J. Abrams, who has made a name for himself writing, directing and producing such hits as "Lost" and "Star Trek," was tapped in January to direct "Star Wars: Episode VII." (Tracey Nearmy / European Pressphoto Agency)

Abrams made his first foray into television in 1998, co-creating the coming-of-age drama "Felicity," which starred Keri Russell as the title character. The show won a Golden Globe and an Emmy. (The WB)

Abrams created the Jennifer Garner-starring spy thriller series "Alias," which won four Emmys and a Golden Globe. (Norman Jean Roy / ABC)

J.J. Abrams on the set of "Mission: Impossible III," the first feature film he directed. The film earned nearly $400 million at the worldwide box office. (Paramount Pictures)

Director J.J. Abrams and star Tom Cruise on the set of "Mission: Impossible III." (Paramount Pictures)

Director J.J. Abrams and star Tom Cruise pose atop Shanghai's historic Bund 18 building after wrapping up filming in China for "Mission: Impossible III" on Nov. 30, 2005. (Associated Press)

Abrams co-created "Lost" with Jeffrey Lieber and Damon Lindelof. The suspense-filled show followed a group of people after their plane crashed on an island. The massively popular series became a cultural touchstone, with millions of viewers tuning in for twist after twist. (ABC)

J.J. Abrams is photographed in Los Angeles in April 2006. (Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times

J.J. Abrams, second from left, poses with the cast members from "Fringe," a sci-fi television series he co-created with Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci. (Rich Lam / Getty Images)

J.J. Abrams reveals his first casting for his 2009 reboot of "Star Trek" during a 2007 Comic-Con panel in San Diego. (Spencer Weiner / Los Angeles Times)

A scene from Abrams' 2009 film "Star Trek," which raked in more than $385 million worldwide. (Paramount Pictures)

Steven Spielberg, left, co-produced the 2011 film "Super 8," which J.J. Abrams wrote and directed. The pair are shown here at a 2009 dinner honoring Spielberg in Beverly Hills. (Michael Kovac / WireImage)

J.J. Abrams and Steven Spielberg on the set of "Super 8." (Paramount Pictures)

Director J.J. Abrams and actor Kyle Chandler on the set of "Super 8." (Paramount Pictures)

Young actors Joel Courtney and Riley Griffiths discuss a scene with director J.J. Abrams on the set of "Super 8." (Paramount Pictures)

J.J. Abrams, left, and Eric Kripke executive produce the post-apocalyptic adventure series "Revolution." The pair are photographed here at Abrams' company Bad Robot in Santa Monica on Aug. 20, 2012. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Abrams, second from left, shares the stage with "Star Trek Into Darkness" actor Benedict Cumberbatch, star Chris Pine and producer Bryan Burk during a December 2012 press conference for the sequel to their 2009 blockbuster. (Koji Sasahara / Associated Press)

J.J. Abrams and his wife Katie McGrath are co-chairs of the Children's Defense Fund of California. They're photographed here in December 2012. (Mark Davis / Getty Images)

J.J. Abrams is photographed in Beverly Hills in June 2011. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

J.J. Abrams is photographed in Beverly Hills in June 2011. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

J.J. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan are taking over screenwriting duties on the newest “Star Wars” film from Oscar winner Michael Arndt, according to a statement issued today.

Abrams was tapped to direct “Star Wars: Episode VII” back in January; Kasdan, of course, has a long history with Lucasfilm, as a screenwriter on “Star Wars: Episode V — The Empire Strikes Back,” “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and “Star Wars: Episode VI — Return of the Jedi.”

“I am very excited about the story we have in place and thrilled to have Larry and J.J. working on the script,” Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy said in a statement posted on StarWars.com. “There are very few people who fundamentally understand the way aStar Wars’ story works like Larry, and it is nothing short of incredible to have him even more deeply involved in its return to the big screen. J.J. of course is an incredible storyteller in his own right. Michael Arndt has done a terrific job bringing us to this point and we have an amazing filmmaking and design team in place already prepping for production.”

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Arndt (“Little Miss Sunshine,” “Toy Story 3″) had been announced as the original screenwriter for “Episode VII” last November, shortly after word surfaced that he had written a lengthy treatment for a trilogy of new “Star Wars” films.

In addition to the three new episodes that begin with “Episode VII,” Disney, which acquired Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion last year, has plans to explore the galaxy far, far away with two standalone “Star Wars” movies, penned by Kasdan and prolific writer/producer Simon Kinberg (“Mr. & Mrs. Smith,” “X-Men: The Last Stand” “X-Men: Days of Future Past”).

“I think what worked so well in all of the ‘Star Wars’ movies is the characters,” Kinberg said in an interview with Hero Complex. “I think the reason that they’re different than other science fiction or other genre movies is because George [Lucas] created a universe of people that you wanted to go back and see over and over again, and that’s why it’s spanned and spawned so many different mediums, so many different generations, every different language.”

Shooting on “Episode VII” is scheduled to begin in the spring at Pinewood Studios, with the movie set for a 2015 release.

Abrams and Bryan Burk are producing, with Tommy Harper and Jason McGatlin serving as executive producers.

John Williams is returning to the “Star Wars” universe to write the score. 

– Gina McIntyre

Follow us on Twitter: @LATHeroComplex


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30 Responses to ‘Star Wars: Episode VII’: J.J. Abrams, Lawrence Kasdan to pen script

  1. starwarsfan says:


  2. Josh says:

    I think this is great news as Larry wrote both Empire and Jedi and I thought those were the two best Star Wars movies to date. I will gladly accept a delay if it helps make Ep, VII the best movie it can be.

  3. guest says:

    Simon Kinberg is actually a fairly good writer. Oh, wait, did I say good? I meant to say awful. Sorry about that.

  4. Dahm says:

    Bad news. If Super 8 and the end of Lost are any indication these scripts will be convoluted, complicated, and forgettable. The best movies have the simplest stories.

  5. donna says:

    Hans, Luke, Leia, 3P0, Lando and the Wookie could sit and stare at audience for 2 hours and it be a better movie than the last 3

    • joh says:

      it's HAN not hans

    • Robert says:

      Keep all the actors from Episodes I, II and III out of it along with Jar Jar Binks and it will be a step in the right direction

      • Jay says:

        These will deal with Luke after he has established the NEW JEDI ORDER… it will have absolutely ZERO connection to the first 3 unless they do flash back for historical continuity also hopefully we will see Han and Leah's children

  6. jeffry helms says:

    Gosh I hope no bizarre dialog and predictable ghetto scenes, along with the females dying from drug use during the movie.

  7. Steve says:

    Kasdan is absolutely the right choice to write episode VII. Excellent news.

  8. Joh says:

    THANK GOD FOR KASDAN!!! he's already been in the SW universe :)

  9. John says:

    Maybe the problem they are having stems from the basic issue that there is no reason except pure greed to make this movie.

  10. Edwin says:

    Thank you now J.J. Abrams is here.

  11. Andrew says:

    actually lost was great till the end… I loved the finale.. very touching and moving…

  12. rwilliams says:

    As a fan it's about time that we fans find out what happen to the rest of the story!!!!

  13. Scott says:

    Episode VII thru IX have already been written by Timothy Zahn years ago. They would be great movies, unfortunately the actors from Jedi would have to be recast.

  14. Joe says:

    Want's mark Hamil to be in StarWars VII .

    • Jay says:

      HE IS along with Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Billy D. Williams…. Anthony Daniels also is supposed to be returning… Peter Mayhew is having health issues so he may not be back as Chewbacca

  15. kimbershine says:

    Is it just me but why does JJ Abrams look like he could be Steven Speilbergs son. WOW!

  16. Joey says:

    Yeah, but Kasdan wrote ROTJ which had the horrible Ewoks – and the Emperor must have said the word "destiny" about 35 times. Don't forget that veteran Hollywood screenwriter Leigh Brackett wrote quite a bit of "The Empire Strikes Back," Kasdan didn't write that alone.

  17. Diana says:

    Let's hope it won't be like LOST with a lot of stuff happening and an ending that leaves us disappointed.

  18. BMad23 says:

    Anyone who has a problem with the guy that wrote 2 of the best movies ever(The Empire Strikes Back and Raiders of the Lost Ark) taking over writing duties from the guy who did Little Miss Sunshine should seek psychiatric attention immediately. It just shows some people like to complain just for complaining sake.

  19. Bcarr says:

    I would have to agree with Scott. I would love to see them utilize the thrawn(sp) trilogy continue their story. However; it is whatever the disney execs want to do.

  20. Scott says:

    The Timothy Zahn trilogy was great….I am not sure how old Carrie Fisher is today, but I don't know if she could play a pregnant Leia with Han's twins. I would love to see those books come to life though even if they had to recast.

  21. cybersavant says:

    Form what i've heard – Lucas's original vision of the last three films was after Luke et al died.

    Personally i don't care for the Legacy Era stuff. I'd much rather see some Old Republic stuff – or even stuff from the new pre Republic – Jedi- Bendu stuff from the comic mini series

  22. Brian says:

    The legacy era would fit the a actors perfectly however it centers more on Leia's twins than the original cast and "SPOILER ALERT!!!!" Cewbacca would be dead already. furthermore a forty year time jump would leave most people wounding what happened in all that time from the rebuilding of the jedi academy, through the construction of the New Republic, and to the Yuzuzhan Vong war.

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