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In photos: 5 things you need to know about the newest Star Wars trilogy

Disney has confirmed it: The next installment in the franchise – Star Wars: Episode VII – is coming to a galaxy near you in 2015.

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WHO SAID IT: During an April 2013 speech at the annual CinemaCon convention in Las Vegas, Disney chairman Alan Horn confirmed the latest trilogy of movies in the long-running saga – plus two standalone films – would begin rolling out in 2015, starting with the first film in the trilogy: Star Wars: Episode VII. The next two installments will come in 2017 and 2019, with the two standalone films slotted for the years in-between. Here actor Virginia Madsen poses with Horn, then president and COO of Warner Bros., at a film premiere in Los Angeles on Feb. 20, 2007.

Fred Prouser/Reuters

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WHO WILL DIRECT? Disney previously announced that the film is being directed by J.J. Abrams, who is known for his supernatural-themed films and television work, including the long-running television series Lost, the film Super 8 and two Star Trek films. His script will come from Michael Arndt, the Oscar-winning writer of Toy Story 3 and Little Miss Sunshine. Here Abrams arrives at CinemaCon 2011 in Las Vegas.

Chris Pizzello/The Associated Press

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WHAT’S IT ABOUT? Horn wouldn’t say, but the films are rumoured to be set within the timeline of the original Star Wars trilogy (directed by George Lucas and released between 1977 and 1983), allowing for the return of deceased villains such as Darth Vadar and Emperor Palpatine. It’s not yet known which two characters will get their own standalone films, although Yoda seems to be a leading candidate. Shown here is actor Ian McDiarmid as Emperor Palpatine in Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.

Handout/Lucasfilm Ltd.

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WHY DISNEY? Disney announced the new Star Wars films in October, 2012, after buying all rights to the series through its acquisition of LucasFilm Ltd. for $4.05-billion (U.S.). Director George Lucas stepped aside after more than 35 years at the helm. Here is Lucas on the set in an undated publicity photo from Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. The final instalment in the Star Wars prequel series explained how the young Anakin Skywalker joined the Dark Side of the Force to become Darth Vader.

Handout/Reuters

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WHO WILL BE LUKE? The original Luke, Mark Hamill, will likely make an appearance. His co-star from the 1977 original, Harrison Ford (Han Solo), has remained coy, but in early 2013 he reportedly said: “It's not in the bag yet, but I think it's happening.” In an interview posted March 6, 2013, in Florida's Palm Beach Illustrated, Carrie Fisher answered a simple “yes” when asked if she would be reprising Princess Leia in the new films. This 1977 file image shows, from left: Ford, Fisher, and Hamill in a scene from Star Wars.

Handout/The Associated Press

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