A date has finally been set for the release of Disney's first Star Wars film and even though filming hasn't even begun yet, the date isn't that far away. On Thursday, 7 November, Lucasfilm announced that Star Wars: Episode VII will arrive in cinemas just before Christmas 2015, with the studio penciling 18 December into their diaries as the official release date.

Star Wars
How will the new Star Wars compare to the originals?

The first instalment of the Star Wars reboot "will not only anchor the popular holiday film-going season but also ensure our extraordinary filmmaking team has the time needed to deliver a sensational picture," said Disney chairman Alan Horn in a statement (via USA Today). With filming due to get under way at London's Pinewood Studios in spring next year, this gives director Jj Abrams and co. just over a year to make the first of the scheduled three films, which is about a third of the time George Lucas afforded his project between 1977 and 1983 and again in 1999 and 2005.

What do we know about the new Star Wars film so far?

Since the early days of Star Wars, the movie industry has revolutionised the way films are made and in particular how special effects are shot. This will no doubt work to the film's benefit when it comes time to reach the deadline, but even with these advancements there are concerns among fans that Disney will rush the films, which will inevitably work against the final product. Then again, there are a number of fans who, after the debacle of Episodes I - III, aren't so bothered about the reboot, because its not as though they will be accepted as actual Star Wars films.

Star Wars: Episode VII is being directed by JJ Abrams, with Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan working on the script with Abrams. Michael Arndt wrote the original draft of the script, with these two stepping in for re-writes last month. Producers are hoping to finalise casting for the film soon, with open auditions taking place in the UK this month.

JJ AbramsGeorge Lucas
JJ Abrams [L] will step into George Lucas' [R] shoes and direct