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Star Wars VII set for Xmas release. Ho, ho, ho... not THIS Christmas

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Disney has given Star Wars fans plenty of time to work themselves up into a right state of excitement by announcing that the next movie in the space saga will hit cinemas on 18 December... 2015.

According to Reuters, Disney chief exec Bob Iger said: "This, obviously, is one of the most important movies we have in the next few years, and we've chosen a date we believe will allow the creative team the time to make a great film."

Provisionally titled Star Wars: Episode VII, the JJ Abrams-helmed film is set to go into production next spring. Abrams will team with Lawrence Kasdan – co-writer of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi – to shape the screenplay.

There's little indication on who'll participate in the thesp department, apart from the news that Carrie Fisher will dust off her bikini for a cameo.

Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill are also "in talks" to put in an appearance, Reuters says.

The news agency also notes the movie will be shot in Blighty, as were the previous six, for studio purposes at least. This marks a return of the franchise to its "British roots", and fans can only hope the presence of Kasdan and Abrams - who has made the decision to shoot on 35mm film - marks a return to something approaching a half-decent celluloid experience. ®

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