Disney Buys Lucasfilm for $4 Billion; STAR WARS: EPISODE 7 Will Kick Off New Trilogy in 2015 [Updated]

by     Posted 1 year, 168 days ago

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Cue internet explosion.  In a “holy shit” piece of news, Disney has purchased George Lucas’ Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion, and has earmarked a 2015 release date for Star Wars: Episode VII.  Yes, you read that right.  Not only will Disney be in command of the Star Wars empire, but a seventh entry in one of the most popular franchise of all time is in the works and set for release the same year as The Avengers 2 and Justice League.

I’m still in a fair amount of shock here, but with this move Disney has solidified its plans to take over the world as the company now houses Pixar, Marvel, and Lucasfilm.  The new was announced by both companies, so this is no hoax.  Hit the jump for more.  [Update: We've updated the article with more information on the acquisition and the future of the franchise.]

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Click here to watch a video in which Lucas and Kathleen Kennedy talk about why they made the deal with Disney and the future of the franchise going forward.

Click here to read our editorial regarding who should direct the new Star Wars films.

Click here to watch Lucas and Disney CEO Bob Iger discuss the acquisition.

The announcement was made by Disney, whose release includes the following statement from George Lucas:

“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, 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.”

We recently learned that Kathleen Kennedy, longtime producing partner of Steven Spileberg, had been chosen as the new co-chair of Lucasfilm.  She will now become the studio’s president under the new deal, answering directly to Disney chair Alan Horn.

As for that new Star Wars film, Lucas will remain onboard as a “creative consultant” while Kathleen Kennedy wil serve as executive producer on Star Wars Episode 7 and future Star Wars movies.  The release of Episode 7 in 2015 will kick off a new trilogy that Lucasfilm already has mapped out.

star-wars-episode-v-the-empire-strikes-back-imageFor all intents and purposes, though, this is a clear sign that Lucas is letting go of the beloved franchise.  He stated earlier this year that he was looking to move away from Lucasfilm in order to make “experimental movies” in his garage, so this move isn’t exactly a shock.  Disney has had a strong relationship with the company since Star Tours opened in Disneyland years ago, and the studio’s relationship with Spielberg/Kennedy likely gave Lucas reassurance that his franchise would be in good hands.

We all knew that further Star Wars films would be made someday, be it with a reboot, remake, or proper sequel.  Disney has handled Marvel quite well, so hopefully they can do the same with the Star Wars series.  A few entanglements will still have to be worked out, as 20th Century Fox is still set to distribute the 3D re-releases of Lucas’ Star Wars films over the next few years.  The television series Star Wars: The Clone Wars is also owned by a Disney competitor, Turner Broadcasting, so it remains to be seen how these extensions of the franchise will be sorted out.

Update: A conference call with shareholders just ended, in which a few more details of the deal were revealed:

  • Star Wars: Episode 7 will be the beginning of a new trilogy that has been mapped out.
  • The treatment for Episode 7 is already completed, on which Lucas consulted.
  • Episodes 8 and 9 will be released approximately every other year following 2015, so expect the sequels in 2017 and 2019.
  • 20th Century Fox will not be involved with these future releases.
  • Disney “really likes” the potential of expanding Star Wars into television on their Disney XD channel, so expect more than a few new animated series.
  • The studio’s concentration is on the Star Wars franchise, so as of now there are no plans to toy with Indiana Jones.  The reason being that those films are tied up in some legal shambles with Paramount, who distributed the films.  Indiana Jones was not part of the valuation of Lucasfilm when Disney was eyeing the acquisition.
  • Disney plans to leave Lucasfilm’s visual effects company Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) “as it is.”

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Comments:

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  • JPA

    HOLY FUCKBALLS

  • CC

    This can’t be for real…

  • adambramble

    Episode 7? Bring it on!

  • mattedscreen

    So George really did go crazy and is prattling around in his garage! Holy Shit balls with whipped cream and cherry sauce on the side!

  • tarek

    great news… goodbye Luca$. we will not miss you.

  • Old Soldier

    THIS IS THE WORST OCTOBER FOOLS JOKE EVER!

    • Goop

      Hahaha I have to acknowledge your awesome comment. Thumbs up!

  • b4u1234

    Holy Shit is right!

  • Sugreev2001

    HOLY SHIT ! I hope they resurrect Lucasarts and makes Monkey Island games again…or A Monkey Island movie :GASP:

  • abs

    HALLELUJAH!!!

    There is now a glimmer of hope of having Star Wars (ep IV a new hope) released in its original version.

  • Dan

    Money, money, money, money, monayyyyy…I think Disney is the biggest live action hack right now. I can’t think of a really good live action move they’ve done since Pirates 1 in 2003 (excluding Avengers, which doesn’t count in my book).

    • Spanky

      Why would Avengers not count?? Because you choose to be ignorant?

      How about the other Marvel movies that led up to Avengers? Still going to be ignorant?

  • stylus59

    Halloween Fools!

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  • Nate

    WE HAVE HOPE IN THIS WORLD!!!!!!

  • Jared

    All I can say is that they better get either Joss Whedon or Shane Black involved.

  • Travman93

    I am in pure shock right now. No words. As a man, this news… Does things to me.

  • Goop

    Wow! Gore Verbinski will be getting work for a while. He’s the only guy to make decent Disney live action movies recently, right? Whoever they bring on, I hope they’re forward thinkers and creatively stretched. Nostalgia can be important too maintaining canon, but it’s a big part of what ruined the newer wave of Star Wars films. Goodluck, Disney.

  • timothy

    Maybe now it will be done right.did i just write that.anybodys better than george lucus.

  • will

    Wow. It’s not April 1, right? And Lucas isn’t going to write the script or direct? Great. Still, I think they should have just rebooted the series for all intents and purposes. Calling it Episode VII makes it seem like they’re trying to tie it to the previous films, when I’d rather it be set in another time with other characters.

  • awestruck

    man the world must be coming to an end, lucas gave up the reins to starwars???????

  • allpjay

    2015! 2015! Holy Shit that’s soon! I’ve got butterflies. All the fantasies about someone new taking the helm of the Star Wars universe and nailing it are in play. Hopes are high! Naysayers be damned. Let your guard down and just drink in the possibilities.

    • Melvin White

      Amen!

  • SP1234

    Is this the same for Indiana Jones too? Does Disney have those rights now from Paramount?

  • John

    Wow… this is probably the most important buyout in a long time. To me, Star Wars is an even bigger brand than Marvel and it will be interesting to see if Disney can restore Star Wars to what it once was.

    Also, it looks like Disney is getting all other Lucasfilm companies, including ILM and Skywalker Sound (those companies do Visual Effects and Sound work on a large percentage of Hollywood films).

  • tarek

    and this time, please no more B1 useless robots and stupid jokes à la Luca$.

  • Nick Lanciotti

    Please someone answer this: does Disney now own Indiana Jones !????

    • Warrior Monk

      No. Indiana Jones was not included in the deal.

  • Mr. Orange

    I lost power thanks to the hurricane. I turned on my generator to power my computer for just a bit. And what do I see? The most random movie news ever.

    • Melvin White

      Hahaha all those people who are gonna get power back after the storm and think that the world ended and they are in a better place!!! George Lucas-less Star Wars!!!!

  • Pocketses

    Was wondering the exact same thing about Indiana Jones…if this is a buyout it would make sense that all of their properties would be transitioned along with them…

    Very interesting news, indeed…

    Phase 3 has initiated…

  • Cpt. Hindsight

    It is now finally fully confirmed to me that George Lucus has been an alien telling his galaxies history the entire time.

    He was sent here to show us a better way, a “new hope” if u will. Him and his people didn’t take into account the concept of human greed and he was sucked into it losing his way. His people finally got here from his home planet (they left their planet to get here on opening day of episode 1) and told him to complete a doomsday device to end the world he had led astray. T complete said task he needed….4.4 billion dollars.

    I’m gonna say it. He’s building a Death Star!!!

  • Trick

    Zahn, Stackpole or gtfo.

    • Jay

      Love!

  • faiz

    For some reason, i’ve got a feeling that the new star wars movie is gonna be along the lines of Nolan’s movies in terms of tone….dark, gritty, or perhaps self-consciously cerebral…because u know…that’s all the rage nowadays isn’t it?

    • Alan

      The last ‘Star Wars’ film featured the lead character killing children, beating up his wife and helping to impose a military dictatorship upon the entire galaxy … and it was released BEFORE the first Nolan/Batman film. So thanks for your lame generalisations, faiz.

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  • ZED17

    How about ILM division?

  • gannon gilmore

    Disney will have an extremely long list of writers and directors looking to get involved. This is better news than I think most people realize.

  • Joseph M

    At first this was Holy Shit! Then it was relief, as Lucas really did lose the thread with the new trilogy (although I still say ROTSith is decent). Then I felt a bit sad, as Star Wars being made without Lucas or the LUCASFILM logo at the start before the crawl seems slightly empty. God, I sound like such a geek.
    And go easy on celebrations about Lucas selling control. Regardless of the way it all went, Lucas gave us an enduring, timeless, groundbreaking and iconic motion picture experience. As film lovers, isn’t that just what we want?
    Hopefully, we’re seeing the young rebel who sold out to the system having a ‘throw the Empire into the chasm’ moment. We shall see.

  • Strong Enough

    HOLY FUCKING FIRE BALLS BATMAN!!!

    millions of nerds just came at the same time! unprecedented!

  • Collin V.

    ………sure, why not?

  • JesBless

    I just read the deal does include ILM and the Indiana Jones franchise!

  • henrikoez

    2015 is gonna be holy epic with just that 3 movies! can believe my eyes, star wars 7!!

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  • alx

    Well well well!!! Life just happen to make sense now…<3 Disney

  • FincherFan

    Isn’t Avatar 2 supposed to come out in 2015 also? So that’s The Avengers 2, Justice League, Avatar 2, AND Star Wars Episode VII all in one year? Holeeeeee crap!

  • Joshua W.

    really he’s only fully responsible for the first film and the prequels. empire and jedi were written and directed by other people.

    • DREDD

      What a pathetic and uneducated response! GL might have dropped the ball a few times recently, but trying to discredit what he did earlier in his career just out of some phantom menace based spite really is crossing the line! Go Wikipedia GL and lucasfilm and see the true magic that he did make, that you clearly are unaware of!

  • DPW

    Everyone’s talking SW, but what Indiana? Isn’t that another Lucasfilm property? Reboot please.

  • Spock Jenkins

    Does John Favreau’s recent deal with Disney mean he’ll get a crack at directing this new Star Wars film? Andrew Stanton?? What if JJ jumps ship ( literally ) and directs the new Star Wars?? Excited for the possibilities – the next movies surely can’t be any worse than the existing prequels…

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  • Patrick

    As C3-PO would say: “We’re doomed…”

  • Bob

    Director’s I feel that should be considered for Episode 7.

    Duncan Jones
    Brad Bird
    J.J. Abrams
    Peter Jackson
    David Yates

    When I’m bored, doing nothing else I’ll think of some more.

    • smith

      David Fincher
      Christopher Nolan
      Joss Whedon

  • DREDD

    A feeling as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in shock and awe and were suddenly silenced.
    This news not only made my day, its made my upcoming 10 years or so! A whole new Star Wars trilogy is ahead of us! And hopefully made by movie makers that were fans of what made it great in the first place!

    I hear even hurricane Sandy was created by the Force as an aftereffect of hearing that there will be a new Star Wars trilogy!

    I wonder if Joe Johnston will now get to also make his Boba Fett movie?!

    What we have ahead of us is something potentiially truly powerful and epic beyond scope!

  • DREDD

    A feeling as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in shock and awe and were suddenly silenced.
    This news not only made my day, its made my upcoming 10 years or so! A whole new Star Wars trilogy is ahead of us! And hopefully made by movie makers that were fans of what made it great in the first place!

    I hear even hurricane Sandy was created by the Force as an aftereffect of hearing that there will be a new Star Wars trilogy!

    I wonder if Joe Johnston will now get to also make his Boba Fett movie?!

    What we have ahead of us is something truly powerful and epic beyond scope!

  • Pingback: STAR WARS: EPISODE VII Directors; 5 Suggestions for Who Should Direct STAR WARS: EPISODE VII | Collider

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