It was a long time ago – 1994, to be precise – when George Lucas produced his last film that was not connected to his “Indiana Jones” or “Star Wars” fantasy franchises. Now his long-in-the-works film about the fighting men of a very different war finally has a release date: on Friday, Lucasfilm said that “Red Tails,” a film about the Tuskegee Airmen, the all-black pilot group that fought in World War II, would be released on January 2012. The film is directed by Anthony Hemingway, who has directed for television series including “Treme,” “True Blood” and “CSI: NY,” and its ensemble cast features Cuba Gooding Jr., Terrence Howard and Bryan Cranston, as well as Tristan Wilds (of “The Wire” and “90210”), Cliff Smith (better known as the rapper Method Man), Ne-Yo and Elijah Kelley.

Mr. Lucas, the executive producer of “Red Tails,” said in a statement: “I’ve wanted to do this film for a great many years. So it is especially gratifying to see it all come together.” He added: “The Tuskegee Airmen were such superb pilots that it was essential for us to create visual effects that would live up to their heroism and put audiences in the cockpit with them. They were only in their early 20s when they performed these amazing feats. They became the best of the best — the top guns.”

Check out the movie trailer at



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