Film studio and resort park operator Disney has revealed plans for a Star Wars-themed showcase at its Disneyworld Los Angeles and Disneyland Orlando locations, during the company's D23 Expo in Anaheim. The new areas will add 14 acres to the both theme parks, making them the largest expansion in the parks' history.
The Star Wars attractions will feature shops and restaurants operated by characters from the saga and they are expected to include instantly recognisable locations such as the Cantina at the Mos Eisley spaceport and the iconic Millennium Falcon. A date has not yet been set for the opening of the attractions.
During a presentation to a packed house of industry insiders and Star Wars fans at the event, Disney president Bob Iger, said: "I cannot think of a better way to celebrate the next 60 years of parks and resorts than with Star Wars Land.
Meet the aliens
"Every restaurant, building, everything will be inhabited by the aliens and droids you'd expect to find there. You'd expect to find a Cantina – and there will be one. You'll have the chance to run into all the droids and fantastic beasts that Star Wars is known for," he added.
"You'll meet characters from The Force Awakens and more from the Star Wars saga. The land will have two fantastic signature attractions, including the ability to take the controls of the Millennium Falcon on a customized secret mission."
Joining Iger to make the announcement, was JJ Abrams, the director of the latest Star Wars The Force Awakens and a handful of the next film's cast members. Harrison Ford, who plays Han Solo, was joined by the franchise's newcomers Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, and Lupita Nyong'o. Ford said: "It's a great thrill to be here with you, who made this whole thing happen, I couldn't be happier, thank you so much."
Lucasfilm, the production company behind the Star Wars saga, was bought by Disney for $4bn in 2012. It has also announced that shooting has begun on the first standalone film in the Star Wars saga: Rogue One. The film is helmed by Godzilla director Gareth Edwards and tells the story of resistance fighters that have banded together to steal the plans to the Imperial's Death Star. Rogue One is slated for release on 16 December 2016.
Following Abrams' The Force Awakens, Looper director Rian Johnson will helm Star Wars: Episode VIII, due for release in 2017 with Jurassic World director Colin Trevorrow set to direct Star Wars: Episode IX released in 2019.
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