Last Updated: May 18, 2014By Tags: , ,

This episode, which follows chronologically “Return of the Jedi,” is expected to be released in North America in the fall of 2015.

Casting for this new sequel will be composed of veteran actors from the previous trilogies as well as some new faces. Han Solo, Princess Leia, Luke Skywalker and Chewbacca all will resume their duties.

The announcement was made by Disney yesterday. It’s anyone’s guess what happened to the rumors that Chiwetel Ejiofor and Benedict Cumberbatch were going to have a starring role in the franchise this time around, too. But maybe the negotiations are still ongoing.

Actors John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson and Max von Sydow will join the saga’s original cast, namely, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew and Kenny Baker.

This first chapter of a new trilogy is scheduled to hit theaters  on December 18, 2015. In addition to the main sequels, Disney announced plans for spinoff films, which will apparently include a Han in a solo adventure, as well as a stand-alone Boba Fett movie.

The issue of whether the original cast, and especially Harrison Ford, would be returning for the new trilogy has been the subject of fevered debate and intense speculation.

Ultimately, however, Disney was able to put the original cast together, namely Fisher (Princess Leia), Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Daniels (the droid C-3PO in the original version), Mayhew (Chewbacca) and Baker (R2- D2).

The sequel will be directed by J.J. Abrams (“Mission: Impossible 3” and “Star Trek”) and written by veteran Lawrence Kasdan ( “The Empire strikes back” and “Return of the Jedi”).

“It is both thrilling and surreal to watch the beloved original cast and these brilliant new performers come together to bring this world to life, once again,” said director J.J. Abrams in a release accompanying the casting announcement. “We start shooting in a couple of weeks and everyone is doing their best to make the fans proud.”

The two Star Wars trilogies (1977-2005) have generated $ 4.4 billion in revenue, and countless ancillary product. Disney became owner of the franchise in 2012 after it acquired Lucasfilm for a little more than $ 4 billion.

Production is to begin in May at London’s Pinewood Studios.