LucasFilm is capitalizing on the buzz swirling around Star Wars: Episode VII, following the big cast reveal earlier this week, by launching an episodic series of mobile apps entitled Star Wars Journeys. This series of interactive books is currently only available for Apple devices, with the first app based on Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace currently available for $6.99 at the Apple store. Take a look at the first trailer and images, then read on for more details.

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LucasFilm plans on debuting an app for each of the first six movies, leading up to the highly-anticipated release of Star Wars: Episode VII on December 18, 2015. The Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace version is broken into three parts, including a story mode centering on the movie's plot and custom-designed artwork that allows users to swipe and reveal different areas of a scene and unlock new chapters. There will also be a database of characters, vehicles, cities and worlds that will give users background on this massive universe. Each app also comes with a game, with the Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace game centering on the pod racing sequences, and readers can unlock upgrades for their pod racers through the story mode.

The app was designed by Disney Publishing Worldwide, with developers turning to recent apps for inspiration, such as one for the popular Disney animated musical Frozen, which is also available through the Apple store. Disney Publishing Worldwide's Andrew Sugarman revealed in a statement that the company wanted to develop more apps for the iPad and other Apple products since the company's Toy Story 3 app in 2010.

"Since then, we have wanted to create an immersive story telling experience in ways you can't do in the print format. We want to make sure the products are relevant to as wide of an audience as possible. They're great for children and great for families."

While the apps, which are designed for children ages 6-12, are currently only available for Apple systems, an Android based format is being planned. They each consist of 20 scenes that can be expanded with new breakdowns, character descriptions and gameplay additions, should Star Wars Journeys become more popular.

Take a look at the official press release from StarWars.com for more information.

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Drawing from the success of its interactive storytelling products, Disney Publishing Worldwide today announced the launch of Star Wars Journeys, a new episodic series of apps featuring the stories, heroes, and villains from a galaxy far, far away. With immersive story content and fast-paced activities and gameplay, Star Wars Journeys apps will introduce the epic Star Wars universe to a new generation of fans like never before. Star Wars Journeys: The Phantom Menace is available now, with additional installments slated for release in the lead up to Star Wars: Episode VII.

Each Star Wars Journeys app includes interactive features that fully immerse readers in the franchise's epic adventures, including a 180-degree parallax viewing experience, infinite zoom scene transitions, collectible character profiles, brand new art, and unlockable hidden content. Each will also feature a set of unique activities that deepens the story experience.

Here's what Andrew Sugarman had to say in a statement.

"The Star Wars film franchise has continuously excited and engaged audiences of all ages for more than 30 years. Now, Disney Publishing is connecting Star Wars fans to their favorite franchise through a series of innovative new apps that combine storytelling, play, and technology for an epic experience. We are thrilled to help introduce the Star Wars universe to the next generation of fans, and provide those already familiar with the power of the Force new ways to connect with this legendary franchise."

Star Wars Journeys: The Phantom Menace, available now for iOS, reveals the first story in the classic saga in an explosive new way. As readers tap and swipe their way through the story, they are challenged to fast-paced races across four different galaxies in customizable anti-gravity Podracers where they can earn special rewards that allow them to complete the story. Additional apps in the Star Wars Journeys series rolling out in the coming months include:

  • Star Wars Journeys: Attack of the Clones
  • Star Wars Journeys: Revenge of the Sith
  • Star Wars Journeys: A New Hope
  • Star Wars Journeys: The Empire Strikes Back
  • Star Wars Journeys: Return of the Jedi

Star Wars Journeys: The Phantom Menace can be found on the App Store in the Kids and Entertainment categories. For additional Star Wars mobile apps updates and information, visit DisneyStories.com, Facebook.com/disneyreads, and @DisneyReads.