Cartoon maker Gainax will produce four theatrical features in its iconic Evangelion series. The movies, the first in nearly a decade, are based on the 26-part TV series that launched the worldwide Evangelion boom in the 1990s, according to Variety.

The first, directed by Gainax vet Shinji Higuchi, will be released in July 2007, the second in January 2008 and the third and fourth on a double bill in June 2008. They'll be distributed by Klockworx.

The first three films will borrow some images from the TV show, but with new backgrounds and soundtracks. The stories of the third and final will be brand-new, in response to the many fans who were dissatisfied with the ending of the two Evangelion films directed by Hideaki Anno and released in 1997.

All four will incorporate far more 3-D animation technology than the original features and series.

The Evangelion series, about teenagers who pilot huge robot warriors against invading aliens while struggling with the issues of adolescence, began as a cult hit on Japanese TV.