Star Wars news from D23: Episode IX director confirmed, theme parks announced

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Aug 18, 2015, 7:52 PM EDT (Updated)

There was no new Star Wars footage unveiled at D23, but still some big announcements nonetheless.

Disney film chief Alan Horn confirmed the rumor that Jurassic World director Colin Trevorrow will be behind the camera for Star Wars: Episode IX, which is due out in 2019. While Trevorrow's entry in the Jurassic Park franchise has met with mixed reviews, it has become the third-highest-grossing film of all time and Trevorrow, by all accounts, handled making his first blockbuster well (unlike a certain former Star Wars director).

Following that announcement - made at Disney's D2 Expo on Saturday -- Horn brought out Star Wars: The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams, plus cast members John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong'o and, last but far from least, Harrison Ford to wave at the vast crowd. Ford got a standing ovation and sent the audience into overdrive while thanking them and Disney.

After sending the cast offstage, Disney chairman Robert Iger made the day's second big announcement: an unpredecented expansion of both Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., and Disney World in Orlando, Fla., for the creation of new, 14-acre Star Wars-themed lands.

The parks will transport guests to a never-before-seen planet, a remote trading port (including a cantina) and one of the last stops before unknown space, and will be populated by Star Wars characters from all the films.

Iger said in a statement released later, "We are creating a jaw-dropping new world that represents our largest single themed land expansion ever. These new lands at Disneyland and Walt Disney World will transport guests to a whole new Star Wars planet, including an epic Star Wars adventure that puts you in the middle of a climactic battle between the First Order and the Resistance.” 

In addition to the battle experience, the lands will feature another signature attraction that will put guests behind the controls of the Millennium Falcon on a customized secret mission.

Check out the concept art below. So, what are your thoughts on the Episode IX director and the new theme lands?

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