Disney Uses The Force: New ‘Star Wars’ Movies Annually Starting in 2015

Mark Deming
Movie Talk

If you're the kind of fan who can't get enough "Star Wars," Disney has just made the announcement you've been dreaming of.

In a presentation Wednesday at CinemaCon, the annual meeting of the National Theater Owners Association, Disney representatives unveiled some big plans for the "Star Wars" franchise after purchasing Lucasfilm for $4 billion. While it's well known that "Star Wars: Episode VII" is in the works and poised for release in the summer of 2015, Disney is saying after that, fans can expect a new "Star Wars" movie every summer for at least five years, with installments in the official series alternating with stand-alone films that will focus on well-loved characters in the "Star Wars" universe.

That means six "Star Wars" movies between 2015 and 2020. That's a lot of lightsabers.

Disney is being stingy with the details on what fans can expect from the new movies, but it's been widely speculated that Disney has been planning to make "Star Wars" films that looked outside the continuing narrative of official series, and this confirms they're coming sooner than later. (If we're to believe the scuttlebutt, Yoda, Boba Fett, and Han Solo will be getting their own movies in the future.)

It also makes clear that Disney intends to use the Lucasfilm properties as a powerful cash locomotive, though with J.J. Abrams writing and directing "Episode VII" and Lawrence Kasdan (screenwriter of "The Empire Strikes Back" and "Raiders of the Lost Ark") and Simon Kinberg ("X-Men: The Last Stand" and "Sherlock Holmes") rumored to be writing the stand-alone projects, they're aiming for quality as well as quantity.

Disney's announcement also shrewdly opens the door for lots more speculation among fans and bloggers while confirming something nearly everyone seems to want: a lot more "Star Wars" movies. Well played, Disney. And if your writers start to run out of ideas, you might consider bringing in Patton Oswalt for a script meeting.