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NEW YORK (AP) – Don’t expect the “Star Wars” franchise to disappear anytime soon.

The Walt Disney Co. says Rian Johnson will craft a new trilogy for the “Star Wars” universe. Johnson is the director of the latest film installment in the franchise, “The Last Jedi”.

The announcement represents the most ambitions new foray into the “Star Wars” galaxy, going well beyond the original nine-film framework imagined by creator George Lucas. The new films will be separate from the movies built around Luke Skywalker.

Disney is trying to make the most of its $4 billion deal for Lucasfilm and “Star Wars”. The company is banking on the latest installments, “The Last Jedi” in December and a Han Solo movie in May, to drive people to theaters.

Disney is also hoping to use “Star Wars” to lure people to a streaming service planned for 2019. The company also wants to squeeze cash from “Star Wars” fans in the forms of toys and, theme park visits and hotel stays.

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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