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'Star Wars: Episode VIII,' 'Episode IX' Writers Found? Lawrence Kasdan and Simon Kinberg May Join Franchise

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Lawrence Kasdan is a name "Star Wars" fans have not heard in a long time. (A long time.) According to reports from THR and, however, Kasdan -- the man responsible for writing "Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back" -- is likely to sign on for a major role in the new "Star Wars" trilogy. Per both trade sites, Kasdan and "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" writer Simon Kinberg will produce and write "Star Wars: Episode VIII" and "Star Wars: Episode IX." Michael Arndt, an Oscar winner for "Little Miss Sunshine," will handle "Episode VII" scripting duties.

As both THR and revealed, Disney refused to confirm the rumor. (It should be noted that was the first to post this story, while THR added the wrinkle about Kasdan and Kinberg being producers on the films as well.)

Should Kasdan actually have some involvement in the new "Star Wars" trilogy, it would likely please many skeptical fans. The 63-year-old made his screenwriting debut on "Empire Strikes Back," a film considered by many to be the high-water mark of the "Star Wars" franchise. Kasdan also wrote "Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi" as well as "Raiders of the Lost Ark." In addition to those geek classics, Kasdan is credited with the scripts for "Body Heat," "The Big Chill" and "Silverado," three films he also directed.

Kinberg doesn't have quite the resume, but he's still had a hand in some big Hollywood hits over the last few years. Besides "Mr. and Mrs. Smith," he also wrote "X-Men: The Last Stand" and "Sherlock Holmes." Kinberg is currently writing "X-Men: Days of Future Past," the sequel to "X-Men: First Class."

Of course, all of this is likely premature news for "Star Wars" fans. Disney and Lucasfilm still haven't hired a director for "Episode VII," with many fan choices -- like J.J. Abrams and Guillermo Del Toro -- taking themselves out of consideration. With a 2015 release date looming, however, expect someone to be hired before the end of 2012.

For more on Kasdan and Kinberg, head over to

[via and THR]

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