Why did Star Wars 7 need to switch writers? J.J. Abrams explains

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Nov 7, 2013

According to the director of the new Star Wars film, bringing in a veteran writer wasn't just a style choice.

Many Star Wars fans were encouraged when it was announced that Toy Story 3 writer and lifelong Star Wars fan Michael Arndt had signed on to script the seventh installment of the iconic space-opera series, but nearly a year after he got the gig, it was announced that Arndt had been benched in favor of director J.J. Abrams and legendary Empire Strikes Back and Raiders of the Lost Ark scribe Lawrence Kasdan. Having the writer who penned the most acclaimed of all Star Wars films on board for the project is certainly a plus, but many fans were left wondering why the switch had to happen at all. Why drop your writer so late in the game?

Well, we'd already heard rumbling of Star Wars producer Kathleen Kennedy going to the Disney head office and asking, unsuccessfully, to push the release of the seventh film back a year, and it looks like that decision by Disney was key in determining who was left in charge of the final Star Wars script. Reports say Disney's head honcho Robert Iger was "adamant" that the film come out in 2015, and according to Abrams, time constraints left him with some new choices to make when it came to sculpting the final story of the film.

“It became clear that given the time frame and given the process and the way the thing was going that working with Larry in this way was going to get us where we need to be and when we needed to be,” Abrams said Thursday while on a conference call to promote his new series Almost Human. “Working with Larry Kasdan, especially on a Star Wars movie is kind of unbeatable,”

With Disney pushing for a hell-or-high-water 2015 release, it makes sense that Abrams made the call to bring in someone who helped sculpt the Star Wars universe (and the Star Wars way of filmmaking) in the first place, but it's still sad that Arndt had to get the boot. Abrams did recognize his former screenwriter for his contributions, though, and said losing him for this film "doesn't preclude working with Michael again in the future."

“Working with Michael was a wonderful experience and I couldn’t be a bigger fan of his or adore him more, He’s a wonderful guy and was incredibly helpful in the process,” Abrams said.

So, the Star Wars writer switch basically all came down to turning the film in on time. It's great that Kasdan was ready and willing to step in, and his involvement is certainly encouraging, but Disney's deadline pressure isn't. What do you think? Will the film still work even under these time constraints?

(Via Deadline)

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