Star Wars: Episode VII will begin filming in May at Pinewood Studios in London and is set 30 years after Return of the Jedi, it has been confirmed.
The official Star Wars website also said the film will "star a trio of new young leads along with some very familiar faces."
Star Wars launched its official Instagram account by posting a selfie of Darth Vader.
The image, which is captioned 'another day in the office', shows the character posing with a phone and has gained more more than 27,000 likes in less than 24 hours.
Fans of the sci-fi franchise were encouraged to sign up to the new Instagram account with a tweet which read: "It is useless to resist."
Star Wars fans descended on the US capital in full costume as part of an event organised by the Science Fiction Museum.
Storm troopers, imperial guards and Darth Vader himself mingled with locals and tourists in front of the famous Capitol building.
The event was part of a drive by the Science Fiction Museum to raise funds for a museum building to house science fiction memorabilia, sets, props and costumes.
A open casting call for the new Star Wars film is taking place this weekend in the capital.
As many as 3,000 people are expected to turn up to try and secure their place in the film, with the franchise attracting an enormous global fan base.
Producers are looking to fill two major roles - a 17 year old girl named Rachel and a character called Thomas in his early twenties.
It will be held at Twickenham Stadium today and tomorrow from 11:00 am - 3:00 pm.
Up to a thousand people attended a UK audition today for a major Disney movie, rumoured to be the next Star Wars film.
However, many big screen hopefuls were turned away from the auditions in Bristol as early as 10:30am after dedicated wannabes queued from the early hours to secure their position.
"We walked in the rain, we walked in the cold, we waited for this, we've been really excited and we've got here and the doors are shut," one disappointed audition hopeful told ITV West Country.
Disney are holding open auditions in Bristol this weekend for a 'major movie' said to be the new Star Wars film.Read the full story ›
Disney is holding a series of open auditions in Britain for a "major movie" many have speculated is Star Wars: Episode VII.
The auditions, which begin tomorrow in Bristol, are looking for two actors - one for the role of 'Rachel', where the actress must be over 16, “beautiful, smart and athletic, and the other for 'Thomas' a “handsome, smart and athletic” man aged between 19 and 23.
Although the movie in name has not been mentioned, it has been suggested the auditions are for the latest instalment of the multi-billion pound space franchise - which is expected to be filmed at Pinewood Studios early next year and released in 2015.
The auditions start in Bristol on November 9 and 10, followed by casting calls at Manchester and Glasgow on November 16 and 17 and Dublin and London on November 23 and 24.
J.J Abrams will direct the new film and although no casting details have been given yet, actors including Daniel Day-Lewis, Benedict Cumberbatch and Saoirse Ronan have been linked to the movie.
Disney, who bought the $4 billion franchise last year, reportedly made no comment.
Disney will bring the next film in the Star Wars franchise to cinemas on December 18 2015, the company has said in a statement.
The Walt Disney Company purchased Star Wars producer Lucasfilm in 2012 and promised at least three more films in the series, which ranks as one of the biggest movie franchises of all times.
The iconic theme to sci-fi hit Star Wars has been named the nation's favourite movie music.Read the full story ›
Last year, Gilbert Taylor spoke to Henderson's Film Industries about filming the infamous attack on the Death Star for Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope..