Two of Hollywood's biggest titans have joined forces; Disney has purchased LucasFilm, the home of the hugely popular "Star Wars" franchise. And at least one more "Star Wars" film is on the way.
The landmark deal was made for $4 billion in cash and stock, and includes Industrial Light and Magic, Skywalker Sound.
According to a press release from Disney, a seventh “Star Wars” film is in development for release in 2015.
The release also notes that “more feature films expected to continue the Star Wars saga” in the future.
Kathleen Kennedy, current Co-Chairman of Lucasfilm, will become President of Lucasfilm, reporting to Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn. She will serve as executive producer on forthcoming "Star Wars" films, while "Star Wars" creator George Lucas will serve as creative consultant.
It's unclear if "Episode 7" will pick up where "Episode 6" (1983's "Return of the Jedi") left off, or continue in a new direction.
“Lucasfilm reflects the extraordinary passion, vision, and storytelling of its founder, George Lucas,” said Walt Disney Company chairman Robert A. Iger in a press release. “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.”
“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 in a statement. “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.”
Among its myriad other holdings, Disney also own Marvel Comics, including such recent film hits as "The Avengers."
Lucas directed "Star Wars" in 1977, and it became one of Hollywood's first modern blockbusters, capturing the imagination of millions of moviegoers. The film spawned an empire of merchandise, TV spin-offs and five highly successful feature follow-ups, including 1980's "The Empire Strikes Back" and 1983's "Jedi," both of which Lucas produced but didn't direct. Throughout the '80s and '90s, the brand lived on in multimedia platforms (video games, cartoons, comic books, novels). The theatrical side of the series was revived with the prequel trilogy, encompassing 1999's "The Phantom Menace," 2002's "Attack of the Clones" and 2005's "Revenge of the Sith."
What do you think of the idea of more "Star Wars" movies, as produced by Disney?