New Star Wars trilogy to arrive in 2015, 2017 and 2019

Latest triptych of films in long-running space saga will kick off in 2015 with Episode VII, directed by JJ Abrams

The latest trilogy of Star Wars films will arrive in 2015, 2017 and 2019, Disney chairman Alan Horn has revealed.

Speaking at the annual CinemaCon convention in Las Vegas, Horn confirmed the latest triptych of movies in the long-running space saga would kick off in 2015 with Star Wars: Episode VII. Disney previously announced that the film is being directed by JJ Abrams from a script by the Oscar-winning writer of Toy Story 3 and Little Miss Sunshine, Michael Arndt.

Horn also confirmed Disney is working on a number of spin-off "movies derived from that [Star Wars] universe", though he did not state when these were due to arrive on the big screen. Many fans have interpreted Horn's speech at the annual conference for cinema chain owners as a sign that Disney is planning to release a new Star Wars film every year between 2015 and 2019, with the spin-off movies slipping into the gaps left in the schedule for the new trilogy. Horn confirmed only that The Empire Strikes Back's Lawrence Kasdan and Sherlock Holmes's Simon Kinberg are working on scripts for the standalone films, rather than for Episodes VIII and IX.

Disney announced the new Star Wars films in October after buying all rights to the series through its acquisition of LucasFilm for $4.05bn, with Lucas agreeing to step aside after more than 35 years in charge. The stars of the original trilogy, Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia) and Harrison Ford (Han Solo), have all confirmed talks or willingness to return to the series. Ford said last month: "I think it's almost true. I'm looking forward to it … it's not in the bag yet, but I think it's happening."

Beloved characters such as Yoda, Han and Boba Fett have all been tipped to receive their own standalone movies. The films are rumoured to be set within the timeline of the original 1977-83 Star Wars trilogy, allowing space for the return of deceased villains such as Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine.

Elsewhere, a British-based character actor who played one of Vader's first victims in 1977's Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope has died at the age of 66. Pittsburgh-born Richard LeParmentier portrayed Admiral Motti, the scornful Death Star commander whose "lack of faith" Vaders finds "disturbing" in the debut Star Wars instalment. LeParmentier, who also had roles in Superman II, Octopussy and Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, initially tried out for the part of Han Solo. He was a favourite at Star Wars conventions and also worked as a screenwriter for TV shows such as The Bill, Boon and Love Hurts between 1988 and 1992.


Ben Child

The GuardianTramp

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