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Disney Empire strikes back: Plans for Star Wars character spin-off films unveiled

The company which acquired the Lucasfilm franchise last year is making the most of the marketing Force with plans for sideline films in addition to the Episodes VII, VIII, IX

Having acquired George Lucas’ Star Wars franchise for a whopping $4.1bn last October Disney looks keen to capitalise on its investment and has just announced it is planning an undisclosed number of spin-off movies in addition to the three sequels already in the pipeline.

Disney boss Bob Iger said yesterday that the spin-off films will be based on individual characters.

This is in addition to the Star Wars: Episode VII, the first of a trilogy of sequels, directed by JJ Abrams and written by Michael Arndt, chalked up for release in 2015.

Iger told CNBC that the spin-offs were in the very early stages but that Larry Kasdan, writer of Empire Strikes Back, and Simon Kinberg, producer of This Means War, would be working on them. “I don’t have details or specifics about the films themselves,” he said.

The scripts are in development and “becoming more real” he said. “We’re not saying how many [films are being planned] although I did mention two creators [Kasdan and Simon Kinberg].

Last month Disney confirmed the news that Star Trek director JJ Abrams would direct the next film, Star Wars: Episode VII.

The news that Disney was shelving the scheduled release of Star Wars Episodes II and III in 3D next Autumn soon followed.

A statement Disney's website read: “Lucasfilm has decided to postpone this fall's scheduled release of Star Wars Episodes II and III in 3D."

"Given the recent development that we are moving forward with a new Star Wars trilogy, we will now focus 100 percent of our efforts on Star Wars: Episode VII in order to ensure the best possible experience for our fans. We will post further information about our 3D release plans at a later date.”

Lucas will pen the treatments for the three screenplays but Arndt, who wrote Toy Story 3, will pen them in full.

Disney executives are planning to release the follow-ups "every two to three years" after Episode VII.

Imagined spin-offs:

C-3PO follows the Yellow Brick Road

This Fretful Protocol Drold finds himself delivered by a strange house-shaped spaceship to a land ruled by witches and populated by munchkins. Finding himself rusting up and unable to go any further, C-3PO enlists the help of a young girl in ruby slippers to ease his creaking metal joints.

Jar Jar Binks flying high

Clumsy Gungan Jar Jar decides that the only way to prove he is a worthy ruler of the planet Naboo is to teach himself to fly. Enlisting the help of a promising flight school pupil T.Alvak their efforts land them in hot water, literally, when they crash on a hostile planet made up entirely of spouting geysers. Can they get out unscathed?

Chewbacca defends Kashyyk

The Wookiee must protect his hairy family from an invasion by Trandoshan hunters who have followed him to his home town on the orders of Darth Vader.

Yoda's Adventures in La La Land

In the Mos Eisley Cantina, the annual talent show final is taking place. Despite having vowed to leave Tatooine, Yoda has returned for the final dance. He spots the girl he’s spent all summer teaching to rhumba. She’s sitting with her family, looking longingly at the stage. Yoda grabs her hand. “Baby in the corner nobody puts”.