Disney to acquire Lucasfilm for $4bn, release new Star Wars movie in 2015

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So… Disney is buying Lucasfilm. Yes, that Lucasfilm — the one behind the Star Wars franchise — is being acquired by The Walt Disney Company for US$4.05-billion in cash and stock. Oh, and they’re making more Star Wars movies too.

Lucasfilm, including its gaming arm LucasArts and operating businesses in live action film production, consumer products, animation, visual effects, and audio post production, will become part of Disney, as will the entire Star Wars franchise. Lucasfilm founder and sole shareholder George Lucas says the move will ensure the longevity of the sci-fi films. “For the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see Star Wars passed from one generation to the next,” said Lucas. “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.”

In a video interview, he said that he wanted to “put the company somewhere in a larger entity which would protect it,” before he retired.

Disney also took the opportunity to announce that its rebooting the Star Wars films, starting with Star Wars Episode 7, which will be released in 2015. Lucas said he has “the story treatments for episode seven, eight and nine” and Disney confirmed that its “long term plan is to release a new Star Wars feature film every two to three years.”

Lucas will stay on board as creative consultant for future Star Wars movies, but Lucasfilm will now be led by its former co-chairperson Kathleen Kennedy, who will become its president, Star Wars brand manager and executive producer of future films.

Disney chairman and CEO Robert A. Iger acknowledged Lucas’ “extraordinary passion, vision, and storytelling” expertise, and said the transaction would “generate sustained growth and drive significant long-term value.” No kidding — the Star Wars feature films alone have earned US$4.4-billion at the box office globally.

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