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‘Star Wars: Episode VII': J.J. Abrams, Lawrence Kasdan Assume Screenwriting Duties

Abrams and Kasdan will rework script from Michael Arndt

Director J.J. Abrams and “Empire Strikes Back” co-writer Lawrence Kasdan have taken on screenwriting duties for “Star Wars: Episode VII.”

Kasdan, who has been serving as a consultant on “Episode VII,” bridges the new “Star Wars” films with the old: He co-wrote “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi,” working from George Lucas’ story.

“I am very excited about the story we have in place and thrilled to have Larry and J.J. working on the script,” said Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy. “There are very few people who fundamentally understand the ‘Star Wars’ story like Larry, and it is nothing short of incredible to have him more deeply involved in its return to the big screen.”

Kasdan and Abrams will be taking over form Oscar-winning screenwriter Michael Arndt. “Michael Arndt has done a terrific job bringing us to this point and we have an amazing filmmaking and design team in place prepping production,” said Kennedy.

Kasdan joins John Williams, who will score the film, as an original trilogy alum who is returning to the franchise.

Shooting is expected to begin in spring 2014 at the Pinewood Studios in London, with an expected 2015 release.