Today Disney announced that, not only are they buying Lucasfilm Ltd. for $4.05 billion, but they will begin making new Star Wars films under the name, with a release date for Episode 7 expected as early as 2015. What's more? Episodes 8 and 9 will reportedly follow, resulting in a complete new trilogy.

The new films will reportedly pick up right after Return of the Jedi, which was the sixth "episode" of the Star Wars series, even though it was the third film in the first 70s and 80s trilogy that helped launch the careers of Harrison Ford as Hans Solo, Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia and Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker.

"For the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see Star Wars passed from one generation to the next," creator George Lucas said in a statement, reports E!. "It's now time for me to pass Star Wars on to a new generation of filmmakers. I've always believed that Star Wars could live beyond me, and I thought it was important to set up the transition during my lifetime.

"I'm confident that with Lucasfilm under the leadership of [film producer and new Lucasfilm president] Kathleen Kennedy, and having a new home within the Disney organization, Star Wars will certainly live on and flourish for many generations to come." Lucas continued. "Disney's reach and experience give Lucasfilm the opportunity to blaze new trails in film, television, interactive media, theme parks, live entertainment and consumer products."

Under the new arrangement, Lucas will serve as a creative consultant, though with no day-to-day running of the operation. Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger, who has brought such giants and innovators as Pixar, Marvel and ESPN under Disney's brand, praised Lucas' creation of Star Wars for standing the test of time and added that the installments could very well exceed the trilogy currently planned.

"Lucasfilm reflects the extraordinary passion, vision and storytelling of its founder, George Lucas," Iger said.

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