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Disney to make three new Star Wars movies with Rian Johnson

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Story by Jack Foley

THREE new Star Wars movies are on the way under the leadership of The Last Jedi writer-director Rian Johnson.

Disney confirmed earlier this week that it had struck a deal with the filmmaker to create a new trilogy of the science fiction blockbuster.

The films will come in addition to a live-action Star Wars series for a new online streaming service.

Perhaps predictably, details about the content of the new trilogy are scarce but it will be separate from the classic Luke Skywalker saga that has informed all 10 films so far. Instead, it will focus on ‘new characters from a corner of the galaxy that Star Wars lore has never before explored’.

In a statement, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy said: “We all loved working with Rian on The Last Jedi. 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.”

Release dates for the new films have not been announced yet.

News of the trilogy will obviously excite Star Wars fans, particularly as they have been beset by problems over recent months following the departure of several high-profile directors from forthcoming films.

Phil Lord and Chris Miller were nearing the end of principal photography on the stand-alone Han Solo film before they were fired and replaced by director Ron Howard.

While Jurassic World’s Colin Trevorrow, who had previously been set to direct Star Wars: Episode IX, was dramatically replaced by The Force Awakens helmer JJ Abrams in September.

It would seem Johnson is doing everything right.

For Disney, however, the news wasn’t all good. The company has also experienced its Disney’s first drop in annual profits since 2009, amid steep competition from online rivals.

Profits for the year to September fell 4% to $8.98bn (£6.8bn), prompting Disney’s shares to fall initially in after-hours trading on the release of its results.

However, they did then rally to 1% higher on news of the new Star Wars movies.

Chief executive Bob Iger commented: “We remain optimistic about our future, in part because quality truly does matter.”