News

Disney plans new ‘Star Wars’ for Christmas 2015

Disney plans new ‘Star Wars’ for Christmas 2015

NEW STAR WARS: A employee poses with Star Wars figures at the Forbidden Planet memorabilia and comic store in London May 11. The new movie is set to debut in 2015. Photo: Reuters/REUTERS/Luke MacGregor

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – The next movie in the “Star Wars” franchise will arrive in theaters on December 18, 2015, Walt Disney Co said on Thursday, two weeks after producers hired a new writer to shepherd the script into production.

Disney purchased “Star Wars” producer Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion in 2012 and promised at least three more films in the series, one of the biggest movie franchises of all time.

“This, obviously, is one of the most important movies we have in the next few years, and we’ve chosen a date we believe will allow the creative team the time to make a great film,” Disney chief executive Bob Iger said in a conference call with Wall Street analysts.

The pre-Christmas date puts the film’s release in the prime holiday movie season, a departure for the “Star Wars” franchise. The previous six films have all been released in May, in time for the summer movie season.

Filming of the new movie, currently called “Star Wars: Episode VII,” is set to begin in spring 2014 and will be directed by J.J. Abrams, who is best known for directing the most recent films in the “Star Trek” science fiction series.

Filming will take place in England, returning the franchise to its British roots as the six previous “Star Wars” films were all partly filmed at studios in Britain.

No acting choices have been announced, but original cast members Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford have been in talks to appear in the upcoming film.

Last month, producer Kathleen Kennedy said Lawrence Kasdan would team with Abrams to write the screenplay, replacing Oscar-winning screenwriter Michael Arndt on the project.

Kasdan co-wrote the screenplays for the second and third “Star Wars” films, “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi.”

The “Star Wars” franchise, which was created by director George Lucas, has grossed more than $4.4 billion at the worldwide box office since the first film was released in 1977.

Recent Headlines

in Local Sports

WWU men fall short against WOU

10421527_10152783802229317_6848766770228405559_n

Western Washington University fell to conference-leading Western Oregon University, 90-87, on Saturday, Jan. 24.

in Local Sports

Aldridge returns and Blazers beat Wizards 103-96

Portland Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts

LaMarcus Aldridge returned to the Trail Blazers two days after saying he was going to have thumb surgery and had 26 points and nine rebounds.

in Local Sports

WWU rebounds with 75-64 win at Alaska Fairbanks

Carmen Dolfo WWU

White leads balanced effort with 15 points

in Sports

Maria Sharapova beats Peng in 4th round at Australian Open

Maria Sharapova of Russia chases down on a shot to Petra Martic of Croatia during their first round match at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Monday, Jan. 19, 2015.

Second-seeded Maria Sharapova is through to the Australian Open quarterfinals after a 6-3, 6-0 win over China's Peng Shuai on Sunday.

in Local Sports

Eastern Washington scores 65 in 2nd half to top North Dakota

ewu eagles eastern washington university logo on white

Eastern Washington scored 67 points in the second half to beat North Dakota 102-80 on Saturday.