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UPDATED! Holy crap! Disney buys Lucasfilm for $4 Billion! Star Wars: Episode 7 on track for 2015!

10.30.2012

Disney once more has fortified their entertainment empire by acquiring one of the biggest brands in the world: STAR WARS. In a reported $4.05 billion dollar acquisition, The Walt Disney Company will gain 100% control of Lucasfilm and all associated properties, including LucasArts, Skywalker Sound, and Industrial Light + Magic.

Add to that the fact that The Hollywood Reporter and everyone are announcing a new STAR WARS movie is being scheduled for a 2015 release date! EPISODE VII people!!!!

There are not many details at this point, but it looks like the deal is cash and stock with Kathleen Kennedy remaining President of Lucasfilm, reporting to Disney chair Alan Horn.

This has got to be a joke, right? Disney gets Marvel and now Lucasfilm? I am tempering expectations that the new STAR WARS film is really happening. Could we finally get the STAR WARS sequel we have always been dreaming about? Could we get an adaptation of the Timothy Zahn novels? This is incredible news.

Here is George Lucas' statement: “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 CEO Bob Iger added this statement: “Lucasfilm reflects the extraordinary passion, vision, and storytelling of its founder, George Lucas. This transaction combines a world-class portfolio of content including Star Wars, one of the greatest family entertainment franchises of all time, with Disney’s unique and unparalleled creativity across multiple platforms, businesses, and markets to generate sustained growth and drive significant long-term value.”

Reports are stating that STAR WARS 7 will be released in 2015, but no word on whether it will be EPISODE VII.  Kathleen Kennedy will be executive producer on "any future STAR WARS films" and George Lucas will remain a consultant.

It is interesting to note that Pixar was originally a part of Lucasfilm back in the day before splitting off and joining Disney. Looks like the whole gang is back together!

UPDATE: Per CEO Bog Iger, expect EPISODES 7, 8, and 9 as well as new television series! Per Deadline, Disney and Lucasfilm “have a pretty extensive treatment of the next three movies. Episode 7 will be released in 2015, the first under the Disney/Lucas banner,” he said, with Episode 8 and Episode 9 to follow. Disney plans to release a new Star Wars movie “every two to three years.” Disney also intends to pursue the Star Wars brand in their parks, with games and, “other initiatives,” CFO Jay Rasulo said. “Being that there hasn’t been a Star Wars film since 2005, a lot of the value we attribute to the deal is to come, added Rasulo.

Regarding TV: “We love the fact that this will take its place in our live-action strategy as a known and loved brand,” said Iger of his newest property. “We really like Star Wars’ potential on TV, and Disney XD would be a great home for that.” He did not provide any more details about future Stars Wars TV shows. He added that that the deal “combines two of the strongest family entertainment brands in the world.”

None of these new projects will be produced or financed in any way by 20th Century Fox. It is unknown how this will impact the CLONE WARS animated series or the control of the first six films in the STAR WARS saga. But, this likely means the source of funding the long in development STAR WARS live action series may be a non-issue now.

UPDATE: Here is video of Lucas and Kennedy explaining the move of Lucasfilm to Disney. Lucas sounds like he is gonna cry.

Extra Tidbit: UPDATE: latest reports state Disney has character rights to Indiana Jones as well.

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