Disney Acquires LucasFilm, Star Wars Episode 7 Slated For 2015
That’s no moon. That’s the House of Mouse.
In what seems like a strange fever-dream or early April Fools joke, The Walt Disney Corporation announced Tuesday that they were acquiring LucasFilm for the sum of $4.05 billion. George Lucas, founder and sole owner of LucasFilm, will receive approximately half of the $4.05 billion in cash and the other half will be comprised of 40 million shares of Disney stock.
“For the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see Star Wars passed from one generation to the next,” George Lucas said in a prepared statement. “It’s now time for me to pass Star Wars on to a new generation of filmmakers. I’ve always believed that Star Wars could live beyond me, and I thought it was important to set up the transition during my lifetime.”
Included in the purchase of LucasFilm, Disney will gain sole ownership rights to the Star Wars property which they describe as being an “evergreen” franchise. In addition to Star Wars, Disney will acquire the rights to all of LucasFilm’s technology including Industrial Light and Magic and Skywalker Sound. Disney has no current plans to move LucasFilm from it’s current location on San Francisco’s Presidio.
In an investor call Tuesday, Disney Chairman and CEO Robert Iger announced that not only would Disney begin production on Star Wars Episode 7 slated for 2015, but they intend to create a new trilogy with Star Wars Episodes 8 and 9. Further plans include a new Star Wars film every two to three years. George Lucas will remain in place as a creative consultant on the projects. Also announced during the investor call is that Disney now owns the rights to the Indiana Jones franchise. [Though they basically implied that it's dead in the water - Ed.]
According to the information released by Disney during the investor call, Disney is looking to expand Star Wars’ presence in their theme parks, roll out more video games, and more television programming for their Disney XD channel. It is currently unknown whether the Star Wars live-action television show, rumored to be called Star Wars Underworld, is still in production at LucasFilm. Rumors stated that George Lucas had commissioned scripts for Underworld, but the show would be too expensive to produce at this time.
LucasFilm was founded in 1971 by George Lucas.