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Star Wars VII: The Disney Movie signs Toy Story III script genius

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Disney's newest, shiniest cash-cow, Star Wars VII, has picked up a writer in the shape of Little Miss Sunshine director Michael Arndt.

The Hunger Games II scribe, who has also recently co-written a sci-fi movie for Tom Cruise, has apparently been working on a "treatment" for the movie for a couple of months, The Hollywood Reporter claims. Lucasfilm has issued a statement confirming that Arndt will write the screenplay for the newest Star Wars film.

Arndt bagged an Oscar for best original screenplay for the 2006 arthouse comedy Little Miss Sunshine, which featured a grandfather teaching his seven-year-old beauty pageant contestant granddaughter a dance he picked up in a less-than-savoury "burlesque" establishment.

His writing on Toy Story 3 also bagged him a nomination for the best adapted screenplay. He has already written the upcoming second film in the Hunger Games trilogy.

Disney got its hands on the Star Wars franchise when it bought Lucasfilm just a few weeks ago and the studio immediately announced its plans to give the world Star Wars VII, VIII and IX and maybe many more. Responses have ranged from horrified Jar-Jar-Binks-related trepidation to cautious optimism given the Mouse's pretty good, and lucrative, job on the Marvel universe.

The Hollywood Reporter reckons that the film will focus on a new generation of heroes, with possible cameos (spirit or otherwise) of old favourites Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher). Harrison Ford has also been reported to be interested in returning as Han Solo.

The next step for the film would be for producers Kathleen Kennedy and George Lucas to sign up a director. Animation to live-action director Brad Bird is rumoured to be in the mix after successfully moving from the likes of The Incredibles and Ratatouille to Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol.

Both Quentin Tarantino - who is reported to have said: "I’m not interested in the Simon West version of Star Wars" - and Steven Spielberg have declared that they will not direct a Disney Star Wars, with Spielberg bizarrely declaring: "It's not my genre" in his haste to distance himself from the project.

The man who pumped life back into Star Trek, JJ Abrams, was also, perhaps more hopefully than realistically, named as a possibility, but has told Hollywood Life he thinks he'll be going to Star Wars "as a paying moviegoer". ®

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