Note: Until it’s announced on StarWars.com, the news of Lawrence Kasdan and Simon Kinberg writing Star Wars Episodes VIII and IX can’t be considered official, but when two Hollywood trades report on it, that’s pretty close, so this article is assuming that it’s true.

For decades, film has been considered a directors medium. (Before the ’60s, it was usually thought of as a producer’s game.) Ask anyone now to name titans of the industry, and they’re going to list directors: Ford, Hitchcock, Kubrick, Scorsese, Spielberg. And so, when the news of a new set of Star Wars movies was announced, the conversation immediately turned to directors. Who could possibly shepherd our unrealistic expectations of a sequel to Return of the Jedi?

At the only place that counts, LucasFilm, it seems they feel writers are more important than the director. While hiring Michael Arndt to write Star Wars Episode VII before hiring a director made complete sense (most directors would never commit to a project without a script), hiring Lawrence Kasdan and Simon Kinberg to write Star Wars Episodes VIII and XI before any directors are attached at all speaks volumes to how this trilogy is being handled. It seems to suggest that story is king and that’s a good thing. Read More »

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Update from Editor Peter Sciretta: Disney and LucasFilm have officially confirmed that Michael Arndt is signed to write Star Wars: Episode VII. The following statement was posted on StarWars.com:

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. As revealed in the ongoing video series posted here on StarWars.com, Kathleen Kennedy and George Lucas have begun story conferences with Arndt. Arndt won an Academy Award® for Best Original Screenplay for writing Little Miss Sunshine (2006), and was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay for writing Toy Story 3 (2010).

The original story follows after the jump.

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With a change in director, it isn’t surprising to see a new writer come on to The Hunger Games sequel Catching Fire, and now Michael Arndt, who won an Oscar for scripting Little Miss Sunshine, is in talks to work on the film with director Francis Lawrence. Read More »

Joseph Kosinski is set to follow Tron Legacy with an original sci-fi idea that he hatched as a proof of concept graphic novel a couple years ago. The film is Oblivion (which has also been called Horizons, and said to be untitled as well) and was originally housed at Disney before the studio cut it loose. But the film ended up at Universal with Tom Cruise in the lead role, and now Morgan Freeman has joined the cast in an important role. Read More »

The next film from Monsters, Inc. and Up director Pete Docter is still quite a mystery — we’ve known next to nothing about the plot and characters — hell, we don’t even have a title. The movie is likely meant to occupy one of the two dates that Disney and Pixar have penciled in for the next couple years (November 27, 2013 and May 30, 2014), probably the later date. We’ve heard that  the script is by Michael Arndt (Toy Story 3) and is about “the formation of ideas.”

That latter point seems pretty spacy, but new comments from Pixar head John Lasseter make things a lot more clear. Read More »

One of the big concerns any time a beloved television series makes it to the big screen is that the film version won’t do justice to the original, but fans of Disney Channel’s Phineas and Ferb can probably put that worry to rest. It was announced earlier this year that the animated show would be getting a theatrical movie in 2013, and we’ve now learned that Disney has tapped Toy Story 3 and Little Miss Sunshine writer Michael Arndt to write a draft of the script. More details after the jump.

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Today at the Walt Disney Studios presentation at the D23 Expo, Disney announced two new movies from Pixar Animation Studios. Both films, yet to be officially titled, will be released in the slots following the announced Monsters Inc prequel Monsters University, which hits theaters on June 21st 2013. We just posted about the first of the projects, which involves dinosaurs — read that here. The second project is directed by Monsters Inc/Up helmer Pete Docter, and is set inside the mind. Read more about it, after the jump.

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While Relativity and Universal have been publicity dueling with their competing Snow White films, Disney has been slowly developing one of its own. The project, formerly known as Snow and the Seven, has been in development since 2002 with the latest update coming six months ago when Oscar-winning screenwriter Michael Arndt came on-board to firm up the script. Disney must have really liked his work because they’ve gone ahead and officially changed the title to The Order of the Seven and hired commercial director and visual effects expert Michael Gracey to direct.

The Order of the Seven will focus primarily on the seven dwarfs who are deadly warriors in a live action, China-set epic. Read more after the jump. Read More »

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