Disney announces 'Star Wars' theme parks
Star Wars: The Force Awakens didn't need to do much to make a splash at D23.
In fact, director J.J. Abrams and his new cast, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac and Lupita Nyong'o, only had to walk onstage to send the crowd into a frenzy -- and that was all before Harrison Ford stepped out, at which point the crowd lost their minds. Which was good, because they didn't share any new footage or news about the movie.
But there was one huge announcement: Disney is creating a Star Wars theme park!
"We're bringing Star Wars to life in a big way," CEO Bob Iger revealed. "And I mean really big." At 14 acres, it's set to be the largest single-themed land expansion ever and will be built at both of Disney's Hollywood Studios theme parks in Orlando, Florida, and Anaheim, California.
Iger said the park will "transport guests to a whole new planet... one of the last stops before wild space," will include a cantina (of course), and one of the two signature attractions will let you drive the Millennium Falcon. Oh, and FYI, they're now hiring!
We also got a first look at the cast of Rogue One. Felicity Jones, in a Han Solo-like outfit and scarf -- at least we think it was a scarf? -- was standing at the center of her team, which includes Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsoh, Donnie Yen and Jiang Wen. The cast will also include Mads Mikkelsen and Forest Whitaker.
Meanwhile, Disney chief Alan Horn announced that Colin Trevorrow, who directed the box office smash, Jurassic World, will helm Episode IV after Rian Johnson (Looper) tackles the Force Awakens sequel.
"This is not a job or an assignment," Trevorrow said in a statement released by Disney. "It is a seat at a campfire, surrounded by an extraordinary group of storytellers, filmmakers, artists and craftspeople. We've been charged with telling new stories for a younger generation because they deserve what we all had -- a mythology to call their own."
"We will do this by channeling something George Lucas instilled in all of us: boundless creativity, pure invention and hope," he added.
Bryce Dallas-Howard, who Trevorrow directed in Jurassic World, told ET that she's happy with Disney's choice. "Colin is a filmmaker who is really masterful at juggling a lot of different elements while also staying focused on what is most essential about a story and so he's kind of the perfect guy for a film like that," she said at D23.
While it'll be a few years before production begins on Episode IX, Trevorrow will begin working with artists and his fellow Star Wars directors at Lucasfilm later this year.
The news comes after Abrams recently confirmed he would not be returning. "I am the temporary captain of this ship that George [Lucas] built," he said. "No, I'm not going to direct Episode IX, as much as I am deeply envious of anyone who gets to work with this group of people on the future movies."
Photos of the new Star Wars BB-8 droid:
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