Return of the Jedi? Three new Star Wars films in the offing as Disney negotiates £2.5bn George Lucas company buyout
The excitement levels of British sci-fi fans have been blasted into orbit after filmmakers announced that three new Stars Wars movies are to hit the big screen.
Fans have welcomed the prospect of further Star Wars movies after a £2.5 billion deal to rejuvenate the series - but mocked the possible Disney-fication of the sci-fi brand.
Actors Simon Pegg and Ewan McGregor are among those who have welcomed the news that the films' creator George Lucas has sold his company to Disney which will see a new, seventh movie released in 2015.
Another pair of movies will follow.
According to Disney, the new trilogy will carry the story of Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Princess Leia beyond Return of the Jedi, the third film released and the sixth in the saga.
Pegg - who voiced bounty hunter Dengar for animated spin-off series Clone Wars - has been critical of the tweaks Lucas has made to some of the films over the years. But he said that the deal would be "good news" for enthusiasts of the series.
The deal follows other major Disney acquisitions such as Pixar studios for £4.6 billion in 2006 and Marvel comics for £2.6 billion in 2009.
Lucas released an original trilogy of films in the late 1970s and early '80s, and created a further three beginning with The Phantom Menace in 1999, although these did not meet universal approval.
Pegg said on Twitter: "For the record, I have no problem with Disney, I am a huge fan and I'm sure it's actually good news for Star Wars fans."
McGregor gushed: "Disney have bought Lucasfilm and are planning on releasing Star Wars ep 7 in 2015. Congrats George and best of luck with whatever is next."
But the deal unleashed a wave of gags about what Disney's involvement may mean for Star Wars. One fan wrote on Twitter: "Anyone else pumped for Star Wars on ice?"
And shortly after the deal was announced Pegg joked: "Does this mean Leia is now a Disney princess? She'll have to go get her nails done with Ariel and lend Pocahontas her metal bikini."
Lucas, who will serve as creative consultant in the new movies, said: "For the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see Star Wars passed from one generation to the next.
"It's now time for me to pass Star Wars on to a new generation of film-makers."
The chairman and chief executive of Lucasfilm added: "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."
Lucas, 68, launched Lucasfilm in 1971 and the first Star Wars film was released in 1977.
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