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Disney Says 'The Last Jedi' Director Will Launch a Whole New 'Star Wars' Trilogy

ANAHEIM, CA - JULY 15: Director Rian Johnson of STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI took part today in the Walt Disney Studios live action presentation at Disney's D23 EXPO 2017 in Anaheim, Calif.STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI will be released in U.S. theaters on December 15, 2017. (Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney) Jesse Grant — Getty Images for Disney

Star Wars fans can get ready to explore a new part of a galaxy far, far away.

Walt Disney said on Thursday that it’s signed a deal with Rian Johnson, director of the upcoming Star Wars: The Last Jedi, to create a brand new trilogy of Star Wars films. In a press release on StarWars.com, Lucasfilm said the new movie trilogy “will introduce new characters from a corner of the galaxy that Star Wars lore has never before explored.”

When The Last Jedi hits theaters on Dec. 15, it will be the second installment of Disney and Lucasfilm’s current trilogy of the Star Wars saga, with the final film of that trilogy expected to be released in 2019. “We all loved working with Rian on The Last Jedi,” Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy said in a statement. “He’s a creative force, and watching him craft The Last Jedi from start to finish was one of the great joys of my career. Rian will do amazing things with the blank canvas of this new trilogy.”

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Disney did not announce specific release dates for the new trio of films, but it would stand to reason that they won’t hit theaters until after 2020, when the last of three currently planned Star Wars spin-off films is expected to be released. “No release dates have been set for the new films, and no porgs were available for comment,” Lucasfilm said in the press release, a reference to the furry creatures that will make their debut in The Last Jedi.

The Last Jedi is expected to be one of the highest-grossing films of 2017 after its predecessor in the current trilogy, 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens, set box-office records and grossed more than $2 billion worldwide. Last year’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, the first in the series of spin-off films, also fared well at the box office, grossing more than $1 billion globally.

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Meanwhile, during Disney’s quarterly earnings call on Thursday, CEO Bob Iger also announced that the company is already developing a TV series from the Star Wars universe that will air on the standalone streaming service that Disney plans to launch before the end of 2019. In August, Disney announced plans to create its own subscription-based streaming service to compete with the likes of Netflix and other growing streaming entertainment players. In addition to the Star Wars TV series, Iger said Disney’s streaming service will also feature TV series based on other Disney properties such as Pixar’s Monsters Inc. animated movies and the Disney Channel’s teen musical franchise, High School Musical, along with an original series from its Marvel Studios unit. (Disney currently airs multiple Marvel series on Netflix.)

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