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OTRC: 'Star Wars: Episode VII' gets December 2015 release date

Darth Vader appears in the film 'The Empire Strikes Back'. (Lucasfilm)

Mark your calendars, "Star Wars" fans!

It was announced on the film's official website that the highly anticipated new film in the "Star Wars" franchise, "Star Wars: Episode VII," will hit theaters on Dec. 18, 2015.

"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 film-going season, but also ensure our extraordinary filmmaking team has the time needed to deliver a sensational picture," said Alan Horn, chairman of Walt Disney Studios.

"Star Wars: Episode VII" will be directed by J.J. Abrams, who also directed the recent "Star Trek" films, as well as "Mission: Impossible III" and "Super 8."

Abrams is also teaming up with Lawrence Kasdan to pen the film's script. Kasdan previously worked on "Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back," "Star Wars: Return of the Jedi" and "Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark."

Shooting for "Star Wars: Episode VII" is scheduled to begin in spring 2014 at Pinewood Studios in the U.K.

In February 2013, Bob Iger, chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company, confirmed that the company was "in development of a few stand-alone films." He also said the new films "are not part of the 'Star Wars' saga...there are now creative entities working on developing scripts for what would be those stand-alone films."

George Lucas also confirmed in March 2013 that talks have been held with original "Star Wars" trilogy stars Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill about having them reprise their "Star Wars" roles in Disney's new "Star Wars: Episode VII."

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