This is exactly the news I was hoping for. After re-launching STAR WARS with the start of a sequel trilogy that began with his 2015 film, STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS, J.J. Abrams is returning to close-out the trilogy. This morning it was announced by Lucasfilm that Abrams is on-board to write and direct the currently-untitled STAR WARS: EPISODE IX.

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Tuesday, April 19 2016 10:27

STAR WARS: Awakening The Force at Home...

When the original STAR WARS Saga (aka "The Old Trilogy") first rolled out between 1977 and 1983, it was a great time to be a kid, though one that seems archaic by modern standards. Back then, viewing STAR WARS was an experience that was reserved as a cinema-only event... unless you were among a very select few that were lucky enough to have an RCA SelectaVision player (video disks that were encased in a square plastic cartridge), or one of the early VHS machines. Even then, you couldn't watch 1977's STAR WARS: A NEW HOPE at home until the latter half of 1982. For our family, it was when HBO scored the rights to STAR WARS in 1983 that we'd get to see it at home on the small, square, screen. In fact, I distinctly remember eating Aurelio's Pizza while watching the film, the brightly-colored wicker paper plate holders still fresh in my mind. For us, the STAR WARS adventures were brought to life and continued daily through Kenner's STAR WARS collection of action figures, playsets and vehicles, with the films essentially recalled from memory. Being there the first time around, it's astounding to think that families in 2016 were able to enjoy J.J. Abrams' STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS at home... a mere four months after its theatrical debut. But like their parents before them, our girls are creating their own STAR WARS adventures daily with Hasbro's extensive collection of STAR WARS toys, and to celebrate the in-home release of THE FORCE AWAKENS earlier this month, our friends at Hasbro sent a box of goodies so we could have a slightly belated premiere party right here at Rock Father HQ. And we did it with pizza... just like back in '83!

There have been rumors and leaks in recent days, but now the news that so many have been waiting for has arrived - STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS will be available to own early on Digital HD and Disney Movies Anywhere on April 1, four days before it comes home on Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD on April 5 (pre-order now). Announced this morning by Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Robert A. Iger at The Walt Disney Company’s Annual Meeting of Shareholders, THE FORCE AWAKENS will arrive packed with bonus features, along with an extensive documentary about the making of the film. How can I get goosebumps again just by watching the in-home trailer? See it and all the specs below...

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STAR WARS fans, our time is now. Today, STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS became the highest grossing film of all time in the domestic market, surpassing the $760.5M lifetime gross of James Cameron's AVATAR in just 20 days of release hitting the mark nearly 300 days quicker than AVATAR back in 2009.  In addition, the film crossed the $800M mark at the international box office today, in a move I like to envision being akin to THE FIRST ORDER positioning Starkiller Base to blast Pandora and the Na'vi. As one of the 25 #StarWarsEvent bloggers, being but a tiny piece of this film's success is something I will forever cherish having been a part of...

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Earlier this month, deep within the heart of a top secret location somewhere in Los Angeles, I capped off a day of interviews with nearly the entire principal cast of STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS (review here) by meeting with J.J. Abrams - the Director, Producer and Co-Writer (with Lawrence Kasdan) of our return trip to "a galaxy far, far away." Today a journey that began in 2012 with the acquisition of Lucasfilm by Disney, is both complete, and just beginning. The release of THE FORCE AWAKENS completes the delivery of the first-ever Disney-produced STAR WARS film, but what begins is a new era in which audiences will be treated to a new STAR WARS film each year for the foreseeable future - with a new Trilogy accented by standalone "STAR WARS Stories" on the off-years in-between. After noting that the selection of toys (a mix of vintage Kenner, and new Hasbro) I brought to the junket as table props were "Nicely done!," we delved into some tales of how an 11-year-old STAR WARS fan became the 49-year-old filmmaker that's setting up STAR WARS before passing the torch lightsaber to other filmmakers to continue the saga in the years to come.

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As a member of the Fandango Family Digital Network, I've been asked to do something a little bit different than my norm in my review of STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS - to do a spoiler-free review written in breakdown form with families in-mind - specifically parents that might be considering taking the little ones to see it in the days and weeks ahead. For our first viewing of THE FORCE AWAKENS, my wife and I went sans children, but we're planning to take the girls at some point during Holiday break.

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