Disney To Acquire Lucasfilm, Promises Star Wars 7 In 2015

Big business news came after the Closing Bell on Wall Street today when The Walt Disney Company announced that it had entered into a deal to purchase George Lucas’s Lucasfilm for over $4 billion dollars:

Walt Disney announced Tuesday that it has agreed to acquire Lucasfilm, the film company founded by Star Wars creator George Lucas, in a cash-and-stock deal worth $4.05 billion.

The deal is a rough equivalent to what the conglomerate paid for Marvel Entertainment back in 2009.

Disney will pay half of the deal in cash and will issue 40 million shares at closing.

Lucasfilm was founded and is owned by George Lucas, producer of Star Wars and Indiana Jones films.

In a statement, Lucas said, “It’s now time for me to pass ‘Star Wars’ on to a new generation of filmmakers.”

Indeed, in the Disney Press Release announcing the deal, the future of the Star Wars franchise played a central role:

“For the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see Star Wars passed from one generation to the next,” said George Lucas, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Lucasfilm. “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. I’m confident that with Lucasfilm under the leadership of Kathleen Kennedy, and having a new home within the Disney organization, Star Wars will certainly live on and flourish for many generations to come. Disney’s reach and experience give Lucasfilm the opportunity to blaze new trails in film, television, interactive media, theme parks, live entertainment, and consumer products.”

Under the deal, Disney will acquire ownership of Lucasfilm, a leader in entertainment, innovation and technology, including its massively popular and “evergreen” Star Warsfranchise and its operating businesses in live action film production, consumer products, animation, visual effects, and audio post production. Disney will also acquire the substantial portfolio of cutting-edge entertainment technologies that have kept audiences enthralled for many years. Lucasfilm, headquartered in San Francisco, operates under the names Lucasfilm Ltd., LucasArts, Industrial Light & Magic, and Skywalker Sound, and the present intent is for Lucasfilm employees to remain in their current locations.

Kathleen Kennedy, current Co-Chairman of Lucasfilm, will become President of Lucasfilm, reporting to Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn. Additionally she will serve as the brand manager for Star Wars, working directly with Disney’s global lines of business to build, further integrate, and maximize the value of this global franchise. Ms. Kennedy will serve as executive producer on new Star Wars feature films, with Geworge Lucas serving as creative consultant. Star WarsEpisode 7 is targeted for release in 2015, with more feature films expected to continue the Star Wars saga and grow the franchise well into the future.

This prompted Daniel Drezner to send out this tweet:

 

Putting Star Wars in the hands of Disney certainly guarantees that they’re not going to let the franchise just sit there without exploiting it as much as they can, not just in movies but throughout their media empire. It also means that we’re likely to see far more vigorous enforcement of Star Wars related trademark’s and copyrights, which may very well mean the end of any fan fiction web sites out there, although going after the fans would be an incredibly stupid move on their part. As for the 7th, and likely 8th and 9th, movie, I’m not sure what to think.  I noted here back in 2010 that there were rumors that Lucas was thinking about a third trilogy, something that had been mentioned since the first trilogy was released, but with all of the officially sanctioned fiction that has been released in the last several decades that pretty much establishes what the post Return Of The Jedi storyline is, I’m not sure what room there is for a movie. Additionally, given what we saw from the prequels, I am not entirely optimistic about the project.

But it’s coming in 2015, folks. Mark your calendars.

FILED UNDER: Entertainment, Popular Culture, Quick Takes
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Does this mean that we might get a Blu-Ray released of the unbutchered original films? If so, I feel kind of conflicted.

  2. Vast Variety says:

    I’m begining to think the Mayans were right about the end of the world.

  3. Kit says:

    Is no one else looking forward to a sequel to Howard the Duck?

  4. Ben Wolf says:

    It’ll all end in tears.

  5. Franklin says:

    @Timothy Watson: You won’t be the first in line for that.

  6. Mr. Replica says:

    I do not really know what to feel about this, at least right now.
    I am not exactly in the same boat of people that think that the prequels are complete crap. No, they do not meet the benchmark that the original trilogy set, but I still enjoy them. Jar-Jar and all. (I also have zero problems with ewoks. *shrug*. )
    I grew up watching all the original trilogy, but I do not shun any of the newer movies. I actually enjoy Revenge of the Sith and The Phantom Menace. Just not as much as Empire or ROTJ. Attack of the Clones is probably my least favorite out of all the movies.

    If Disney wants to make episodes 7, 8, and 9…I hope they go with the Thrawn trilogy.

  7. Nikki says:

    Hasn’t this franchise already been milked enough?

  8. wr says:

    “but with all of the officially sanctioned fiction that has been released in the last several decades that pretty much establishes what the post Return Of The Jedi storyline is, ”

    Spoken like a fan… The fact is, whoever does the next movie is not going to give a damn about the “officially sanctioned fiction that has been released.” The audience for Star Wars novels is about a billionth the size of the movie audiences. To the studio, the “officially sanctioned fiction” has as much import as a piece of fanfic on a website somewhere.

  9. superdestroyer says:

    @wr:

    You should look up what happens with movie makers have no respect for the source material (Bonfire of the Vanities, etc) whereas the people who made The Hunger Games were smart enough to follow the book.

    when movie makers disrespect their potential customers, they usually fail.

  10. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Franklin: Yeah, but maybe I’ll buy the one you got at your yard sale in 10 years or so.

  11. Sean says:

    Regarding the expanded universe:

    Lucas himself has said for many years that the Expanded Universe has no effect on the plot of the movies. This was seen as the Prequel trilogy directly contradicted many things put into the Expanded Universe. They need to be looked at as several (or many) different continuities ll connected by a base premise.

    Now, I don’t doubt that there are many ideas in the Expanded Universe material that Disney will happily raid; however, expect it to be a mashup of all the greatest hits.

    Cheers.

  12. James Joyner says:

    @superdestroyer: wr has some familiarity with the movie business, since he makes his living in it.

  13. superdestroyer says:

    @James Joyner:

    Considering that Hollywood massively underperforms financially, maybe the movie business should spend more time developing Moneyball type statistics instead of continuing what they are doing. When has a movie based on a popular book succeeded by doing a massive rewrite of the storyline.

  14. Tillman says:

    @Mr. Replica: The only reason they wouldn’t go with Thrawn is if they’re going to keep the Jedi/Sith conflict as the headlining act. Considering the prequels, it’s likely they will. Thrawn is woefully short of Dark Side bonafides.

    On the other hand, they might “reboot” away from Jedi/Sith, or show that the Jedi aren’t exactly that great when it comes to interstellar warfare. A lot of World War II parallels could be made.