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Significant 'Star Wars' Presence Planned for Disney Theme Parks

Significant 'Star Wars' Presence Planned for Disney Theme Parks

By Marc Graser

The Walt Disney Co. plans for “a far greater Star Wars presence” in its theme parks, company chief Bob Iger said Tuesday.

The first look at new attractions based on the sci-fi franchise, beyond Star Tours that currently operates at several of its parks, will be revealed next year, Iger said during a conference call with analysts to discuss Disney’s record third quarter results.

The move comes as Disney is readying to release a new Star Wars film in theaters starting Dec. 18, 2015, that J.J. Abrams is currently directing.

Lucasfilm and Disney also will host Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim on April 16-19, while Star Wars is expected to have a major presence at the D23 Expo, Aug. 14-16, again from the Anaheim Convention Center.

During the call, Iger said when Disney now decides to build new attractions, “the likelihood of their success is greater” when they’re branded. “When we grow Star Wars presence, which we will do significantly, you will see better bets being made that will pay off for us than were made in the past,” adding that leveraging the collection of popular franchises and properties that the company owns for rides and experiences will deliver “better returns than we saw in the past.”

SEE ALSO: Disney Reveals Look of ‘Avatar’ Theme Park at Walt Disney World

When asked if it was looking to broker new licensing deals with other franchise owners for attractions the way it did with James Cameron’s Avatar for a land inside Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom, Iger dismissed the notion, citing properties owned by Marvel, Pixar and Lucasfilm. “We don’t have to license from third parties,” he said. “We own them all.”

SEE ALSO: J.J. Abrams Reveals X-Wing in ‘Star Wars: Episode VII’

Photo credit: Disney