Oscar-Nominated Screenwriter Chris Weitz Takes Over Star Wars Spin-Off Scripting Duties

By  · Published on January 27th, 2015

Oscar-Nominated Screenwriter Chris Weitz Takes Over Star Wars Spin-Off Scripting Duties

Lucasfilm Ltd.

One thing I know after seeing Godzilla is Gareth Edwards doesn’t need a good script to deliver a great blockbuster. I don’t think I could even tell you the plot from memory right now, and yet I stand by my opinion that the monster movie reboot was one of the most spectacular and thrilling pieces of cinema released last year. Before that, with Monsters, he wowed me with a tired story recycled from It Happened One Night by throwing in some giant aliens and crafty direction.

He could go ahead and make his Star Wars spin-off with no screenplay at all, and I’m sure I’d be happy. But I can’t speak for the rest of the franchise’s fans out there – especially if any overlap with the large group of people who hate what he did with Godzilla — and I certainly can’t speak for Disney and LucasFilm. They need a script, and according to The Hollywood Reporter, they’ve brought in Chris Weitz to deliver.

Weitz is an interesting multi-talent in Hollywood. I’ll always most associate him, especially when looking at a photo, with his lead role in Chuck & Buck. In addition to acting, he’s co-directed great movies (About a Boy) and not-so-great movies (The Twilight Saga: New Moon). And more importantly for this new gig, he’s also co-written great movies (About a Boy, the script for which earned him an Oscar nomination) and contributed to terrible movies (Nutty Professor II: The Klumps). Whichever the Star Wars movie winds up being, Edwards will surely make the best of it.

The hiring of Weitz, whose next script to hit the big screen is for Disney’s live-action Cinderella, is to replace Gary Whitta (After Earth), who left the production recently after finishing a first draft. I figure the main concepts for this relatively secret spin-off are already set in stone (bounty hunters? young Han Solo? both?) and Weitz is mostly going to be tasked with polishing and tightening. The movie is supposed to be in theaters on December 16, 2016, less than two years away, and there’s been talk of casting shortlists for a lead actress role already.

Christopher Campbell began writing film criticism and covering film festivals for a zine called Read, back when a zine could actually get you Sundance press credentials. He's now a Senior Editor at FSR and the founding editor of our sister site Nonfics. He also regularly contributes to Fandango and Rotten Tomatoes and is the President of the Critics Choice Association's Documentary Branch.