LOS ANGELES • Call it a new hope. Walt Disney Co is making another trilogy of Star Wars movies, its second since it bought Lucasfilm and the fourth since the space drama debuted in 1977.
The new trilogy outside the ongoing Skywalker saga is to be overseen by Rian Johnson, the director of the franchise's upcoming film The Last Jedi, Disney said on Thursday.
Johnson, 43, will write and direct the first of a new Star Wars trilogy that will bring new characters and worlds not yet explored on screen.
"He's a creative force and watching him craft The Last Jedi from start to finish was one of the great joys of my career.
Ms Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucasfilm, said in a statement: "Rian will do amazing things with the blank canvas of this new trilogy."
Disney said no release dates had been set for the new trilogy.
In addition to the new film trilogy, Disney's CEO Bob Iger said during the company's quarterly earnings call on Thursday that a Star Wars live-action television series was also being developed for the company's upcoming streaming service.
Johnson was brought on to write and direct the second film in Disney's rebooted trilogy of the Skywalker stories, which film-maker George Lucas first brought to screen in 1977.
The Last Jedi, which follows on from 2015's hit film The Force Awakens and is expected to focus on Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), will be in theatres in Singapore on Dec 14.
The final instalment in the current trilogy, Star Wars: Episode IX, will be written and directed by J.J. Abrams and scheduled for release in December 2019.
Disney is also making three standalone Star Wars films, including last year's Rogue One and next year's Solo: A Star Wars Story, following the origins of the charming roguish smuggler Han Solo, made famous by Harrison Ford in the franchise.
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.
The Force Awakens generated more than US$2 billion (S$2.72 billion) in worldwide box office revenue. This year, The Last Jedi is expected to propel Disney to the top of the United States box office for a second straight year.