LOS ANGELES (AFP) - The original "Star Wars" movie blasted its way onto screens a long time ago, in a cinema galaxy seemingly far, far away - but Han, Luke and Leia will be back soon.
On Tuesday, Disney announced the cast of the film entering production under the name "Star Wars: Episode VII", after months of frenzied speculation among the sci-fi saga's passionate fans.
Harrison Ford may no longer quite have space smuggler Han Solo's roguish good looks, and co-star Mark Hamill will fill out Luke Skywalker's flowing Jedi knight robes a little more thoroughly than once he did.
But fans of the saga - many of them bitterly disappointed by a series of prequels to the three-decade-old original trilogy - will welcome their return and that of Carrie Fisher's bold Princess Leia.
Disney, the new owner of pioneering director George Lucas' record-breaking franchise, has recruited blockbuster director J.J. Abrams to bring these fan favorites back to the screen.
His trio of stars may have aged, but he will have access to a much more powerful array of computerised special effects than Lucas had when he launched the series in 1977.
And the original cast, including Anthony Daniels and Kenny Baker as androids C3PO and R2-D2 and Peter Mayhew as the alien "Wookie" warrior Chewbacca, will be joined by new, mainly younger talent.
John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson and Hollywood veteran Max von Sydow join the team, and some appeared in a photo released to mark the start of script readings.
"It is both thrilling and surreal to watch the beloved original cast and these brilliant new performers come together to bring this world to life, once again," Abrams said. "We start shooting in a couple of weeks, and everyone is doing their best to make the fans proud," he promised.
Abrams is a respected mainstream director who has already won plaudits for reviving a beloved space opera franchise, taking the captain's chair on the successful 2009 "Star Trek" re-boot.
But "Star Wars" is, if anything, an even bigger challenge.
The two previous trilogies were released between 1977-2005 and inspired spin-off books, comics, toys, videogames and cartoons - earning US$4.4 billion (S$5.5 billion).
But, while the stories still have a massive popular audience, many purists were disappointed by the prequel trilogy, which they felt failed to capture the mythic feel of the originals.