Why was Arndt dropped? Plus: casting, story tidbits and… wait, WTF?

Back in October, I wrote about the rumour that Michael Arndt was replaced with Lawrence Kasdan and J.J. Abrams as screenwriters on Episode VII due to a shift in character focus. Back then, the rumour was that the emphasis was being moved away from the Solos and back towards Luke Skywalker.

Today The Hollywood Reporter has posted this (very interesting) bit of insider info:

Arndt is said to have focused on the offspring of Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), with the original trilogy heroes taking on supporting roles. Abrams, however, wanted Episode VII to focus on the classic trio of characters, so audiences could have one more chance to enjoy them before a fitting send-off. The new characters, the offspring, will now be in supporting roles, according to these sources, and take center stage in Episode VIII and IX. Some characters have disappeared from the Arndt script and new ones are being drafted.

Star Wars creator George Lucas, who directed the 1977 original and each of the most recent trilogy, was also involved in the debate, according to insiders. But Lucas, who sold his Lucasfilm to Disney in 2012, acquiesced to Abrams and producer Kathleen Kennedy, who now runs Lucasfilm.

(That certainly puts a different spin on the idea that Abrams was in constant consultation with Lucas; also, it doesn’t preclude Arndt from returning for the other movies.)

What’s more, there’s this tidbit: last month (with the new direction in mind), Abrams met with Michael Fassbender, Adam Driver and Hugo Weaving.

It gets better: Weaving is looking to play an Imperial officer, which means that somehow the Empire is kicking around while Luke’s in his 60s. (Unless the character is instead like the Star Wars equivalent of an ageing Nazi war criminal, still reminiscing about “the good ol’ days”.)

And, in a WTF twist, the article mentions Obi-Wan Kenobi’s (grand)daughter, who is now in her 20s and is either of mixed race or black. Could this be “Rachel”?

Here’s a crazy bit of speculation (that I don’t even buy myself): maybe Duchess Satine had a secret daughter to Obi-Wan, and that’s the mother of “Rachel”. Yes, Rachel Kenobi, descendant of the Mandalorian warriors of old, is set to usher the galaxy into a new era of guidance in the ways of the Force!

Stay tuned… It seems the new drought has broken.

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