Disney announced on Tuesday that it's buying Lucasfilm Ltd., the company behind the "Star Wars" franchise, from founder and chairman George Lucas, a deal valued at approximately $4.05 billion dollars.
Disney also announced that a seventh “Star Wars” movie, "Episode 7," is scheduled for release in 2015, "with plans to follow it with Episodes 8 and 9 and then one new movie every two or three years," according to the Associated Press.
"It's now time for me to pass ‘Star Wars’ on to a new generation of filmmakers,” Lucas said in a statement announcing the deal. " 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."
“The Walt Disney Co. announced the agreement to make the purchase in cash and stock Tuesday,” the AP report adds. “The deal brings Lucasfilm under the Disney banner with other brands including Pixar, Marvel, ESPN and ABC.”
And, no, it's not an elaborate hoax. Disney is fully committed to the idea of producing multiple "Star Wars" movies.
"Kathleen Kennedy, the current co-chairman of Lucasfilm, will become its president and report to Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn. Lucas will be creative consultant on new 'Star Wars' films," the AP report adds.
From the announcement:
Under the deal, Disney will acquire ownership of Lucasfilm, a leader in entertainment, innovation and technology, including its massively popular and "evergreen" Star Wars franchise 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.
Star Wars Episode 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.
Lucas himself seems pretty excited about the deal.
“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," the franchise creator said.
"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," he added.
Exit Question: Does this mean Leia is now technically a Disney princess?
UPDATE: In a video released on Tuesday, Lucas revealed that he has "story treatments" for at least three more episodes.
What could possibly go wrong? Oh, that's right:
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