Update: StarWars.com officially confirmed the reports Friday that Arndt will pen Star Wars: Episode VII. Full statement:
“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).”
Considering that the first installment in the next Star Wars trilogy isn’t due in theaters until 2015, tantalizing nuggets of news about the project have been coming out at a surprisingly steady clip in the past week. First we learned that Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher had lunch with George Lucas in August and discussed Episodes VII, VIII, and IX with him. Then we heard that Harrison Ford was potentially open to returning to the role of Han Solo. And now comes word that, according to Deadline, screenwriter Michael Arndt has already written a treatment for the next three Star Wars films and is in line to write the script for Episode VII. Arndt’s rep had no comment.
Arndt won the Best Original Screenplay Academy Award in 2006 for the comedy Little Miss Sunshine, was nominated for a second Oscar for his screenplay for 2010’s Toy Story 3, and has written the upcoming sequel Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Satisfying legions of Star Wars fans around the world will be no easy feat, but Arndt has devoted serious Jedi-level training to his study of the franchise. In fact, in talks to aspiring screenwriters, he has more than once used the original trilogy as an object lesson in perfect storytelling structure.