Get in line now: Next 'Star Wars' film to be released in December 2015
Star Wars Stormtroopers pose for photographers in a queue at Legoland in Windsor west of London on March 24, 2012. (AFP)

The first of a new series of "Star Wars" movies will be released on December 18, 2015, the makers of the legendary sci-fi franchise said Thursday.

"We're very excited to share the official 2015 release date for 'Star Wars: Episode VII'," said Alan Horn, chairman of Walt Disney Studios, which bought "Star Wars" creator George Lucas's company Lucasfilm last year.

The new movie "will not only anchor the popular holiday filmgoing season," but the 2015 release date will "also ensure our extraordinary filmmaking team has the time needed to deliver a sensational picture," he added.

Filming is due to begin next spring in Pinewood Studios outside London, added a Disney statement.

Lucas -- who launched the saga in 1977 and directed four of the six films to date -- will serve as a creative consultant for at least three new films, which are expected to come out every two to three years.

[Image via Agence France-Presse]