Until last year, the best way to milk additional theatrical coin out of the Star Wars franchise seemed to be releasing the films in 3D remasters. The process started with the 3D release of Episode I: The Phantom Menace, which hit theaters in February 2012. That release didn’t do all that well, and with the announcement of Star Wars Episode VII, Disney and LucasFilm are now ready to concentrate only on that film.

So the 3D versions of Episode II and III won’t be released this year as planned. Deadline confirms with LucasFilm reps that LucasFilm now wants to focus on “rebooting the franchise” with the J.J. Abrams-directed Episode VII, scripted by Michael Arndt. We don’t know if the 3D conversions of the prequels might be released at some point in the future.

After the break, quizzed on his new directing gig, J.J. Abrams surprises no one by avoiding specifics, and others react to the news. Read More »


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When LucasFilm hired Michael Arndt to write Star Wars Episode VII, the screenwriter instantly became a household name. Even though he’d already won an Oscar for Little Miss Sunshine and scripted the billion-dollar hit Toy Story 3, this job made us extremely curious about the man. What made him tick? How big a Star Wars fan is he? Will he deliver a story worthy of the films that preceded it?

Most of those questions remain unanswered. An old video has come to light, however, that shows Arndt talking in depth about his process, his path to success and writing Little Miss Sunshine. It’s a video that shows the storied Star Wars franchise is in excellent hands. Check it out below. Read More »

Here’s the first official poster for Oblivion, the new film from Tron Legacy director Joseph Kosinski. The movie casts Tom Cruise as a drone repairman who is stationed on an Earth that has seen better days, to put things mildly. The first image sells a grand vision of an almost fossilized Manhattan, with Cruise in the now-standard poster stance. After Tron I’m not certain about Kosinski’s storytelling chops, but I know he can deliver visual spectacle, and this poster certainly promises big imagery.

Olga Kurylenko, Andrea Riseborough, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, and Melissa Leo also star, with the script by William Monahan, Karl Gajdusek, and Michael Arndt based on a graphic novel that Kosinski created.

The trailer will hit on Sunday, but for now you can see the poster below. Read More »

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 »

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 »

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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.

Read More »