Just two years after media behemoths Disney purchased Marvel Entertainment in 2009, they have agreed a $4 billion deal to secure Lucasfilm from George Lucas. Not only that, but Star Wars Episode VII is planned for a 2015 release.
The official press release states:
“…Under the terms of the agreement and based on the closing price of Disney stock on October 26, 2012, the transaction value is $4.05 billion, with Disney paying approximately half of the consideration in cash and issuing approximately 40 million shares at closing. The final consideration will be subject to customary post-closing balance sheet adjustments.”
“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.”
Four billion dollars. Wow. The last time we saw a Lucas-helmed Star Wars film was 2005’s Revenge of the Sith. Regardless of what people think of the quality of the prequel films, they made a shedload of cash. With six films, an animated film, an animated TV series and countless numbers of games, toys and tie-in merchandise, Star Wars has undoubtedly left its firm imprint on popular culture. Lucasfilm is almost entirely founded on Star Wars and Indiana Jones, but does not just include the production company. Lucasfilm also counts a number of subsidiaries including the visual effects house Industrial Light and Magic, Skywalker Sound and LucasArts, but whether Disney are getting their money’s worth remains to be seen. A live-action Star Wars TV series has long been in development hell, and the animated Clone Wars, while popular, has never seen anywhere near the same amount of attention or success as its live action counterparts. However, if there’s one thing Disney are good at, it’s getting things done, so it seems the chances of seeing Episode VII have dramatically increased.
Will George Lucas have as much to do with the next generation of Star Wars as he has done in the past? Kathleen Kennedy, previously Co-Chairman of Lucasfilm, will assume the role of President. Considering her long-running working relationship with not just Lucas but also Steven Spielberg (she is a co-founder of Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment and produced many of his films including Jurassic Park and E.T.), how likely is it that we will get to see a Spielberg-directed Star Wars film? I certainly like the sound of that.
Since being appointed in 2005, Chief Executive of Disney Robert A. Iger has been rapidly expanding the company in a series of massive takeovers including Pixar Animation Studios in 2006 (for $7.4 billion) and Marvel Entertaintment in 2009. With Lucasfilm tucked away in his pocket, is this great news for fans of cinema and Star Wars alike? Or just another step on Disney’s road to world domination?
To view this article on the site I have recently started writing for, We Love Movies [More Than You], click here!