LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Harrison Ford will lead returning and rising stars, including Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Andy Serkis and Oscar Isaac, for the anticipated new "Star Wars: Episode VII" film, Walt Disney Co and Lucasfilm said on Tuesday.
Ford, Fisher and Hamill, who were rumored to be returning to director J.J. Abrams' reboot of the franchise, will be joined by the series' original stars Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca), Anthony Daniels (C-3PO) and Kenny Baker (R2-D2).
Ford played Han Solo, Fisher played Princess Leia and Hamill was Luke Skywalker in the original films, but it is not known if they will reprise their roles or have different characters in the new film.
Joining the franchise alongside "Lord of the Rings" star Serkis and "Inside Llewyn Davis" actor Isaac will be Swedish actor Max Von Sydow, "Girls" star Adam Driver, Domhnall Gleeson and newcomers John Boyega and Daisy Ridley.
"It is both thrilling and surreal to watch the beloved original cast and these brilliant new performers come together to bring this world to life, once again. We start shooting in a couple of weeks, and everyone is doing their best to make the fans proud," Abrams said in a statement.
Disney purchased "Star Wars" creator George Lucas' Lucasfilm in 2012 for $4.05 billion and announced three new films in the franchise. "Episode VII" is scheduled for release on December 18, 2015.
(Reporting by Piya Sinha-Roy; Editing by Dan Grebler)