At this point the familiar Star Wars trumpets are blaring, the crawl is starting just below frame, but no words or even a title have yet floated into our view… the Disney purchase of Lucasfilm and announcement that another trilogy is coming have opened up the Lucas universe with infinite possibilities. The biggest heat in town is focused on finding anything out about the plans for the next trilogy, and while tiny fragments have popped out, little is known.
Today though, Vulture reports that a 40-50 page treatment by screenwriter Michael Arndt has put him at the top of the list for the screenwriting gig, and that his treatment is making its way in front of potential directors like Brad Bird, JJ Abrams, and Steven Spielberg. They further suggest that the treatment includes appearances (of unknown size) by the original trilogy’s three principle characters, allowing for Mark Hamill, Carrie Fischer, and Harrison Ford to reprise their roles.
That’s all that’s currently known, though there’s a great deal of obvious logic to the choice if true. Arndt won an oscar for his Little Miss Sunshine script, and has since generated acclaimed work for Disney on Toy Story 3. He also has written Oblivion, the next film from Tron: Legacy director Joseph Kosinski, and has the future human mind-set Pixar film on his docket currently. He’s also apparently lectured on screenwriting heavily, with a great emphasis on the successes of New Hope as storytelling achievement. He’s a Disney guy, he’s known as a Star Wars guy, he’s got the gold, and I think it’s more than likely that he has the job.
I Haven’t really had the chance to weigh in on the Star Wars sale much yet, and honestly I don’t have a lot to say. For the moment the renewal of the franchise with a new trilogy is so nebulous that it’s hard to even wrap one’s mind around.
Consider the iconography of the original prequel, the batshit tangent of the prequels that already feels of another era, and suddenly it’s very hard to point to one filmmaker and say they have an aesthetic that works with everything old while doing something new. And despite my relative apathy towards the franchise, the job still feels like such a massive thing for the generation of directors up for it that one can’t help but think of it as “the job.” Like, ever. This wouldn’t be the case in other eras of Hollywood, but when the market is so geared toward IP mining and our fresh generation of filmmakers are all so inwardly-focused and trained by Star Wars.
So with all that in mind, until Disney picks a Brad Bird or a settles on a Matthew Vaughn, I don’t have much to offer. Like most of you I’ll engage with the dissection of intentions and and strategy that becomes apparent once choices are made, but prognosticating just isn’t my thing on this one.