Disney buys Lucasfilm and announces 'Star Wars: Episode 7' for 2015
In a come out left field announcement, Disney has acquired Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion and has already announced Star Wars: Episode 7 for summer 2015.
Said George Lucas on the sale: “For the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see Star Wars passed from one generation to the next. 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.”
Disney also acquires the technologies from the San Francisco-based company, which operates under the names Lucasfilm Ltd., LucasArts, Industrial Light & Magic, and Skywalker Sound. Lucasfilm made Kennedy co-chairman back in June, as the apparent heir to Lucas, who was stepping away from the blockbuster film making and getting into smaller, more personal projects that did not rely on the bean counters and studio heads diluting scripts to appeal to a broader audience. Kennedy will now become president of Lucasfilm, and will be reporting to Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn.
What is known about a new Star Wars installment is that Kathleen Kennedy would be executive producer on Episode 7 and any more Star Wars movies beyond that, and that Lucas would serve as creative consultant only, meaning he’ll no longer have a say in its creative direction. Also, what will be the fate of Star Wars: The Clone Wars series which airs on rival cable net Cartoon Network?
For many fans, enamored with the Original series and not the prequels, there is much joy, as many have said Lucas lost his way creatively over the years. Still, what remains unanswered is whether the new Star Wars movie will use any of the Expanded Universe novels that have come out in the last 20 years (not to mention comic books and graphic novels) or go in a new direction. Also, would they involve original Star Wars actors Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher or Harrison Ford?
Or, would they just reboot the franchise?
While no one saw this coming, Lucas has been working with Disney for years, especially at their theme parks. The revamped Star Tours ride at Disneyland was a huge success when it re-opened last year and continues to remain a popular attraction, mostly for its multiple versions of the ride which can give people new experiences each time the take the ride. Plus, Disney has their favorite characters dressed as Star Wars characters already, so the fact that the studio bought Lucasfilm seems a logical extension of both Star Wars and Disney merchandising products.