It’s going to be a happy Christmas two years from now for fans of a galaxy far far away away. The new J.J. Abrams-directed Star Wars movie will open on December 18, 2015, Disney announced today as it unveiled strong fourth-quarter earnings. “We’re very excited to share the official 2015 release date for Star Wars: Episode VII, where it will not only anchor the popular holiday filmgoing season but also ensure our extraordinary filmmaking team has the time needed to deliver a sensational picture,” Disney Studios chair Alan Horn said in a statement Thursday on StarWars.com. When Disney bought Lucasfilm in October 2012 for $4 billion, CEO Bob Iger said that three more Star Wars films would come out — with 2015 as the release date for the first new one. It’s a date Disney will now make by a hair. The new Star Wars movie is set to start filming early next year in the UK with Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, Abrams, and his bad Robot partner Bryan Burk producing. Tommy Harper and Jason McGatlin will serve as EPs. The December 18, 2015 date is the same day that Warcraft, the first pic under Universal and Legendary’s new deal, and Sony’s Inferno are presently set to be released as well.
Abrams was named as director on the first new Star Wars pic since 2005’s Episode III: Revenge Of The Sith on January 25. On October 24, it was announced that Abrams and Empire Strikes Back co-writer Lawrence Kasdan would take over writing the script. Oscar winner and Hunger Games: Catching Fire scribe Michael Arndt had been the writer based on treatments he had drafted, but he is not credited on the script in the information posted online today.