STARS of the original Star Wars films including Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher have been cast in the latest instalment of the space saga.

The trio, who played Han Solo, Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia respectively, will be joined by other old favourites including Peter Mayhew, who starred as Chewbacca, Anthony Daniels, who played C-3PO and Kenny Baker, better known as R2-D2.

It had been rumoured that the original cast would be returning ever since a seventh Star Wars film was announced following Disney's purchase of Lucasfilm from franchise creator George Lucas, for more than £2.5bn, in 2012.

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However, Walt Disney Co and Lucasfilm moved to end the speculation yesterday by confirming the cast.

The latest film will be the first in a third trilogy of Star Wars movies, and will be set after the events of Return of the Jedi, which was released in 1983 and saw the evil galactic empire defeated.

Fresh faces joining the cast include Andy Serkis, who depicted Gollum in Lord of the Rings, Oscar Isaac, who won acclaim for his role in Inside Llewyn Davis, Swedish veteran Max Von Sydow and Adam Driver, best-known for a role in HBO series Girls.

J.J Abrams, who will direct the latest instalment, said: "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. We start shooting in a couple of weeks, and everyone is doing their best to make the fans proud."

British actors cast include John Boyega and the previously unknown Daisy Ridley. They will appear alongside Dublin-born Domhnall Gleeson. Open auditions for the film, which will mainly be filmed at Pinewood Studios, near London, were held in Glasgow last November.