Force is strong today: Disneyland to get huge 'Star Wars' expansion, details of films emerge

The Disney fan expo D23 yields big news for the Jedi-addicted: Disneyland and Disney World are both getting 14-acre "lands" based on the "Star Wars" film franchise. Also: Details of upcoming flicks are revealed.

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An artist's conception of the "Star Wars"-themed land that's coming to Disneyland and Disney World. Disney

Star Wars fans have a lot to talk about today.

Disney announced that it will be building two 14-acre "lands" based on the popular sci-fi and fantasy film series -- one at the original Disneyland park in Anaheim, California, and another at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

"We are creating a jaw-dropping new world that represents our largest single themed land expansion ever," Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Iger announced at the Disney-fan confab D23 Expo 2015 (as reported by Disney's DisneyParks blog). "These new lands at Disneyland and Walt Disney World will transport guests to a whole new Star Wars planet."

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The "Force Awakens" promo poster handed out to D23 attendees, with art by Drew Struzan. Copyright 2015 by Disney/Lucasfilm

The DisneyParks blog goes on to say that the lands will feature a couple of "signature attractions": the ability to pilot Han Solo's storied Millennium Falcon spaceship on a secret mission, and "an epic 'Star Wars' adventure that puts guests in the middle of a climactic battle." The blog doesn't offer a timetable for the construction and eventual opening of the lands.

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Some of the cast of "Star Wars: Rogue One." From left: Riz Ahmed, Diego Luna, Felicity Jones, Jiang Wen and Donnie Yen. Jonathan Olley/Copyright 2016 by Lucasfilm

The D23 Expo also brought news on who will be directing the next film in the Star Wars franchise. It'll be "Jurassic World" director Colin Trevorrow (that's according to a tweet by the folks at D23).

Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn said at the conference, according to Entertainment Weekly, that Trevorrow's "Jurassic World" had knocked Disney's "The Avengers" out of the No. 3 slot on the box office charts but that "we hired him anyway."

Trevorrow himself said in a statement quoted by EW that "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."

The Trevorrow-helmed Star Wars flick obviously hasn't gone into production yet. The soon-to-be-current installment in the series, "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," directed by J.J. Abrams, is set to hit theaters December 18 in the US.

And speaking of "The Force Awakens," attendees at D23 received a dramatic promo poster for the film, cooked up by artist Drew Struzan, whose extensive portfolio of film-poster work includes one-sheets for various Star Wars episodes, as well as for "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade," the "Back to the Future" trilogy, and "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone." Struzan will also create the official poster for "The Force Awakens," The Verge reports.

And lastly, D23 also produced details on the upcoming standalone Star Wars flick "Rogue One," scheduled for release on December 16, 2016. At the event, Disney released an image of some of the film's actors in full regalia and announced the cast of the film, as follows (as reported by CNET sister site GameSpot):

  • Felicity Jones (of "The Theory of Everything")
  • Forest Whitaker (of "The Last King of Scotland")
  • Diego Luna ("Milk")
  • Ben Mendelsohn ("Bloodline")
  • Donnie Yen ("Blade II")
  • Jiang Wen ("Let the Bullets Fly")
  • Mads Mikkelsen ("Casino Royale")
  • Alan Tudyk ("I, Robot")
  • Riz Ahmed ("Nightcrawler")