As expected, The Force was strong with "Star Wars" news at the D23 Expo, even if there was no new Episode VII trailer. Harrison Ford showed up, which is almost as good, and there were several major headlines from the event. Here's a roundup.

EPISODE VII POSTER

The official poster for "Star Wars: Episode VII -- The Force Awakens" was revealed, as designed by veteran "Star Wars," "Indiana Jones" and "Harry Potter" artist Drew Struzan. Featured are Finn (John Boyega), Rey (Daisy Ridley), Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), and Han Solo (Harrison Ford). That's Daisy showing off her poster in the pic above, from her Instagram. Here's the full poster:
"STAR WARS: ROGUE ONE"

The first photo from the standalone film was shared, and here it is:
Felicity Jones stars in the movie, which was already known, and director Gareth Edwards introduced other key cast members: Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Forest Whitaker, Mads Mikkelsen, Donnie Yen, Jiang Wen, and Riz Ahmed, with Alan Tudyk playing a motion-capture character. Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy shared more in a statement:

'Rogue One' takes place before the events of 'Star Wars: A New Hope' and will be a departure from the saga films but have elements that are familiar to the Star Wars universe. It goes into new territory, exploring the galactic struggle from a ground-war perspective while maintaining that essential Star Wars feel that fans have come to know. Gareth is such an innovative director and I'm so excited to be working with him and the extraordinary ensemble cast he's selected for 'Rogue One.'"

"Star Wars: Rogue One" will be released on December 16, 2016.

THEME PARKS

Go here, we will! Yes, hmmm. "Star Wars" lands will be added to both Disneyland in Anaheim, CA, and Walt Disney World's Hollywood Studios in Orlando, FL. "We're bringing Star Wars to life in a big way," Disney CEO Bob Iger said during D23. "And I mean really big." He said, at 14 acres, it's set to be the largest single-themed expansion ever and it will "transport guests to a whole new planet ... one of the last stops before wild space." Fans will be able to participate in an epic battle between the First Order and the Resistance and take control of Han Solo's Millennium Falcon, on a special secret mission. There will also be a cantina! No idea when this will be open to the public, but start saving your pennies.

EPISODE IX

"Jurassic World" director Colin Trevorrow was confirmed to direct "Star Wars: Episode IX," which comes out in 2019. He follows J.J. Abrams, who directed "The Force Awakens" (out December 18) and Rian Johnson, who is directing Episode VIII (May 26, 2017).

Here's Colin's statement about his cool new gig:

This is not a job or an assignment. It is a seat at a campfire, surrounded by an extraordinary group of storytellers, filmmakers, artists and craftspeople. 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."

Stay tuned for more updates on all things "Star Wars" before the many films (and now theme parks) arrive.

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categories Movies