‘Star Wars 7’ director search down to ‘a couple of candidates’

Producer Frank Marshall also says 'Star Wars' takes precedent over new 'Indiana Jones'

The Star Wars: Episode VII director search has been whittled down to “a couple of candidates”, according to producer Frank Marshall.

Last month (October 31), Disney announced plans to make a new series of Star Wars films after buying Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion (£2.5 billion), with Episode VII supposedly earmarked for release in 2015.

With George Lucas set to serve as “creative consultant” on the new movies but without playing an active role in their development, speculation as to who will helm the new trilogy of movies has been rife.

However, Marshall, whose wife Kathleen Kennedy is the president of Lucasfilm, has told MTV that he knows the inside scoop on the new Star Wars films and revealed that the director shortlist is now down to “a couple of candidiates”.

He added: “But I can’t reveal it, or I won’t be alive tomorrow. I’m really excited about this. It’s going to be one of the most anticipated blockbusters of all time. I can’t wait to see what’s next.”

Marshall, who was producer all four Indiana Jones movies for Lucasfilm, also revealed that while ‘Indy 5’ is likely, it has been “put on the back burner” for the moment while the production company focuses its attention on new Star Wars films.

This week, it was announced that Toy Story 3‘s Michael Arndt has now been officially commissioned to script the first film.

An announcement on the Star Wars website read: “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, (Lucasfilm president) Kathleen Kennedy and George Lucas have begun story conferences with Arndt.”

Arndt is a known Star Wars fan with an impressive CV. He won an Oscar in 2007 for his original screenplay to Little Miss Sunshine and went on to script 2010’s Toy Story 3, which earned him another Oscar nomination. He has also co-written The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, due next year (2013).

Meanwhile, Star Wars: Episode VII has yet to lock in a director. X-Men helmer Matthew Vaughn is reportedly in talks for the job, while Steven Spielberg and JJ Abrams have publicly ruled themselves out.