Disney chairman confirms that more ‘Star Wars’ films will be made beyond 2019

Bob Igler also has long-term plans for the Marvel cinematic universe

Disney chairman Bob Igler has revealed plans to extend the Star Wars franchise beyond the trilogy of films and further spin offs already planned.

Igler told BBC Newsbeat that plans to continue making films beyond 2019, when Episode IX is released, are already in place.

“There are five Star Wars films – four more with Episode VII: The Force Awakens – that are in varying stages of development and production,” he said. “There will be more after that. I don’t know how many; I don’t know how often.”

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Iger also said that he expects Marvel, also owned by Disney, to continue for years into the future as well.

“Marvel, you’re dealing with thousands and thousands of characters [from the comic books] – that will go on forever,” he said. Igler also dismissed the suggestion that people will eventually get bored on superhero films: “I don’t think they’re getting weary. But I think we keep raising the bar in terms of telling stories that bring them back, that excite them, that make it feel new, and that is what we do for a living.”

Disney recently announced plans to delay the release of the next Star Wars movie by around seven months.

Star Wars: Episode VIII had been due to open on May 26, 2017 but will now arrive in cinemas on December 15, 2017.

While this obviously gives director Rian Johnson longer to work on the film, it is likely that Disney decided to push back Episode VIII to December so it can mimic the successful pre-Christmas release strategy of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Since its release in mid-December, J.J. Abrams’ film has raked in $1.872 billion (£1.32 billion) at the global box office, making it the third highest-grossing film of all time behind James Cameron’s Avatar and Titanic.

The Force Awakens‘ new characters played by Daisy Ridley (Rey), John Boyega (Finn) and Oscar Isaac (Poe Dameron) are all returning for Episode VIII.