New trilogy of Star Wars films coming from Rian Johnson

Rian Johnson to direct new Star Wars trilogy

"In shepherding this new trilogy, which is separate from the episodic Skywalker saga, Johnson will introduce new characters from a corner of the galaxy that Star Wars lore has never before explored".

Disney has closed a deal with director Rian Johnson to develop a new "Star Wars" trilogy, and it is planning a live-action "Star Wars" TV series to air on its entertainment streaming service that is expected to launch by the end of 2019.

Total revenue from Disney's cable business, the largest unit which includes ESPN and the Disney Channel, fell marginally to $3.95 billion in the fourth quarter, missing the $4.06 billion consensus of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. If your anticipation for The Last Jedi wasn't already at a fever pitch, the confirmation the studio is making Johnson the custodian of Star Wars' future is all you needed to hear.

The plans are welcome news not only to fans but also to Disney investors, who have enjoyed the profits from Disney's movie division, and to theatre chains, which could use a few more guaranteed hits on their screens. No release dates for the new films have been set.

Johnson will write and direct the trilogy, with his longtime creative partner Ram Bergman producing.

Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy was full of praise for Johnson, saying, "Rian will do incredible things with the blank canvas of this new trilogy".

Since Disney acquired Lucasfilm for $4 billion in 2012, it has rolled out two films, with a third, "The Last Jedi", coming in December. The streaming service (or services) is now expected to launch sometime in 2019, but there is no word yet on when the TV series is expected to debut, let alone plot details.

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