‘Star Wars,’ ‘Maleficent,’ ‘Winter Soldier’ set to open in IMAX

March 20, 2014 | 6:35 a.m.

“Star Wars: Episode VII,” “Maleficent” and the next three films from comic book movie giant Marvel all will receive the very-big-screen treatment.

Disney announced its plans to release a slate of six movies via IMAX on Thursday — the complete roster includes the upcoming “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” due to arrive April 4, as well as Angelina Jolie’s dark fairy tale, “Maleficent,” set to open May 30.

Also on the roster are Marvel’s Aug. 1 release “Guardians of the Galaxy,” and a pair of very highly anticipated sequels in “Avengers: Age of Ultron” and J.J. Abrams’ upcoming “Star Wars” film.

Rounding out the list is “Tomorrowland,” director Brad Bird’s mysterious live-action project starring George Clooney.

It’s not the first big announcement regarding the “Star Wars” film. Earlier this week, Disney via StarWars.com confirmed that the space adventure, due in theaters Dec. 18, 2015, will be set roughly 30 years after the “Star Wars: Episode VI — Return of the Jedi,” and will begin shooting in May with “a trio of new young leads along with some very familiar faces” among the cast.

Reports have suggested that “Girls” actor Adam Driver, “Breaking Bad” actor Jesse Plemons and “12 Years a Slave” Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o might star.

Arriving in nearly two weeks, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” will be the first on the new roster to reach moviegoers.

The new film certainly will feel like a departure from Joe Johnston’s 2011 film “Captain America: The First Avenger,” with its World War II-era focus that chronicled the beginning of Steve Rogers’ transformation into the Marvel icon. The sequel, which is set after the events depicted in 2012′s “The Avengers,” sees Chris Evans’ hero having remained in the employ of S.H.I.E.L.D., occasionally teaming with Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff, or Black Widow, on key missions.

VIDEO: ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ trailer

Yet even as he bonds with a military man named Sam Wilson (Mackie) — who has a superhero alter ego of his own: the Falcon — Cap finds himself with few people he can trust as his past quite literally comes back to haunt him in the form of a close friend turned enemy.

“For Steve, it’s about what is right,” Evans said in an interview with Hero Complex. “He’s relatively acclimated to the modern day — it’s not tech shock anymore, he’s not just like, ‘What’s a cellphone?’ It’s more about, given his situation, given the company he works for, what are we doing that’s the right thing? How much privacy, civil liberties are we willing to compromise for security? It’s pretty crazy how relevant it is right now.”

MORE: From the set of ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’

Using movies such as Robert Redford’s “Three Days of the Condor” as creative guides (Redford appears in “Winter Soldier” as high-ranking S.H.I.E.L.D. official Alexander Pierce), directors Joe and Anthony Russo said they aimed to essentially place Cap inside his own political thriller. Marrying two seemingly disparate film genres was deeply appealing.

“We’ve always looked at that as a road to how you find freshness in storytelling,” Joe Russo told Hero Complex. “Bringing together incongruous elements and figuring out how do they mix and what do they make when you put them together.” (Things appear to have worked out well for the directing team — Marvel is planning to bring them back to direct the third “Cap” movie.)

– Gina McIntyre | @LATHeroComplex

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