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Lucasfilm Animation Unleashing 'Strange Magic' in January 2015 [UPDATED]

Back in 2004, Star Wars creator George Lucas opened an animation arm of his production company. Singapore based Lucasfilm Animation was designed to attract talented animators from around the world. So far they've released animated productions based on Lucasfilm properties- chiefly Star Wars. In actual fact their only release without Star Wars in the title so far, is a LEGO Indiana Jones special. This is all set to change early next year however, with the surprise announcement of Strange Magic.

Coming seemingly out of nowhere, this collaboration between Lucasfilm and Industrial Light And Magic will be released by Disney's Touchstone Pictures in North America in January. Starting life as an idea from Lucas himself, it's apparently inspired by A Midsummer Night's Dream. The film is a so-called Jukebox Musical- meaning rather than specially written music, it will feature existing hit songs on the soundtrack. The voice cast features Alan Cumming, Evan Rachel Wood and Broadway/Glee star Kristin Chenoweth. The directorial chair is being filled by Pixar veteran Gary Rydstrom.

Other than that, we know very little. Usually due to the extremely long time animated movies take to produce. we know about films years in advance. But this is just a couple of months away from release- which is practically unheard of.

January is traditionally a bit of a 'dump month' for Studios- it's a release date which suggests the distributors are hardly overwhelmingly confident in their product. On the other hand, the single image released so far (see above) is certainly attractive enough, and ILM previously gave us the excellent Rango. It could turn out brilliant, it could be terrible... we just don't know. Either way, nobody even knew this existed before yesterday... and that's a pretty exciting situation to be in. Strange Magic will be released in the United States on January 23rd, 2015.

UPDATE: The first trailer has been released! Check it out below: