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'Star Wars': Disney announces new trilogy

Just weeks ahead of the release of "The Last Jedi," Disney has announced that the next Star Wars trilogy is already in the works. "Last Jedi" director Rian Johnson will write the new storyline and oversee production.

The galaxy far, far away continues to expand with Disney at the helm. CEO Bob Iger has revealed plans for the "Star Wars" franchise's next trilogy.

Rian Johnson, the director of the upcoming film "The Last Jedi," would write and direct the first film in the new series, Disney announced.

"[Johnson] is a creative force, and watching him craft 'The Last Jedi' from start to finish was one of the great joys of my career," LucasFilm president Kathleen Kennedy said. "Rian will do amazing things with the blank canvas of this new trilogy."

According to Disney, the new trilogy's plot will be separate from the current Skywalker saga and introduce an array of new characters.

Disney has yet to issue a release date for the next trilogy, although it likely won't be until after the final installment in the current saga, currently just titled "Star Wars: Episode IX," is released in December 2019.

Along with the new trilogy, Iger also announced that a new live action "Star Wars" television series was in development. The series is expected to launch as part of Disney's upcoming streaming service, which it hopes will compete against the likes of Netflix and Amazon. Disney's streaming service is due to launch in 2019.

'Big ambitions'

Iger used an earnings call on Thursday to tout the success of the "Star Wars" franchise under Disney since it acquired the rights from LucasFilm five years ago and relaunched the saga in 2015 with the release of "The Force Awakens."

"We have big ambitions for the "Star Wars" franchise," Iger said. "We've got more great "Star Wars" movies already planned for years to come in addition to the 2019 release of Episode IX."

Production recently wrapped up on a new film based on the Han Solo character, who was played by Harrison Ford in the original 1977-83 trilogy as well as in "The Force Awakens." Simply titled "Solo" and due out in May 2018, the film will run as part of the additional series unfolding alongside the current Skywalker storyline. The first film released as part of the parallel saga, "Rogue One", was released last year and grossed more than $1 billion at the box office.

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Disney to compete with Netflix

dm/sms (AP, AFP)

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