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JJ Abrams to co-write Star Wars: Episode VII

The director will work alongside Empire Strikes Back writer Lawrence Kasdan

JJ Abrams is set to co-write Star Wars: Episode VII.

Abrams, who is already set to direct the film, will work alongside Star Wars scriptwriter Lawrence Kasdan, who penned Raiders of the Lost Ark, Return of the Jedi and The Empire Strikes Back.

The pair will take over from Michael Arndt, writer of Little Miss Sunshine and Hunger Games: Catching Fire.

Arndt had been working on the film since last November and is said to be working on scripts for the further two Star Wars films, according to Deadline Hollywood.

Kathleen Kennedy, president of LucasFilm said: "I am very excited about the story we have in place and thrilled to have Larry and JJ working on the script."

She added: "There are very few people who fundamentally understand the way a Star Wars story works like Larry, and it is nothing short of incredible to have him even more deeply involved in its return to the big screen. JJ of course is an incredible storyteller in his own right. Michael Arndt has done a terrific job bringing us to this point and we have an amazing film-making and design team in place already prepping for production."

Filming on Star Wars: Episode VII is due to begin in early 2014 and is set for a 2015 release.