Months before Lucasfilm was sold to Disney and plans for new Star Wars movies were announced, Toy Story 3 writer Michael Arndt was hired to write a 40- to-50-page treatment for Episode VII, sources confirm to The Hollywood Reporter.
Arndt, the Oscar-winning writer of Little Miss Sunshine, has completed a treatment for the new movie and is likely to pen a draft of screenplay. The treatment also will be used by Disney/Lucasfilm to court directors for the highly-anticipated project.
The move, first reported by Vulture, makes sense because Arndt has a relationship with Disney-owned Pixar and brings gravitas via his Academy Award win. He's also no stranger to sprucing up franchises. The Verve-repped Arndt was nominated for a screenplay Oscar for his work on Toy Story 3, helping make the Pixar movie the most emotional of the three. And he co-wrote the screenplay for the upcoming The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.
Disney revealed that three new Star Wars movies were in the works when it announced its acquisition of Lucasfilm last week. Disney CEO Bob Iger even referenced a "lengthy treatment" the studio had for the first film, but he did not reveal the writer that had penned the extended outline. Who would write and direct the movies became the talk du jour as agents jockeyed to land their clients the gig.
It shouldn't be a surprise that Lucasfilm has been working on the project already. George Lucas has been talking about the final trilogy in the Skywalker saga since 1980s The Empire Strikes Back. And the recent hire of veteran producer Kathleen Kennedy to serve as president of the company was a sign that it was gearing up for new movies.
Disney plans to have the new Star Wars movie in theaters in 2015.