Disney buys Star Wars maker Lucasfilm from George Lucas

 

George Lucas signs away his Star Wars empire to Disney's Robert Iger

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Disney is buying Lucasfilm, the company behind the Star Wars films, from its chairman and founder George Lucas for $4.05bn (£2.5bn).

Mr Lucas said: "It's now time for me to pass Star Wars on to a new generation of film-makers."

In a statement announcing the purchase, Disney said it planned to release a new Star Wars film, episode seven, in 2015.

That will be followed by episodes eight and nine and then one new movie every two or three years, the company said.

The last Star Wars film was 2005's Revenge of the Sith, and Disney said it believed there was "substantial pent-up demand".

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Some fans are up in arms at the 'House of Mouse' getting its hands on a series that left such an indelible mark on their collective imaginations. ”

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James Burns, founder of fansite Jedi News in the UK, said: "It is fantastic that we are going to be seeing more Star Wars films as George Lucas has said many times that there wouldn't be any more."

Disney will pay about half in cash and half in stock, issuing 40 million Disney shares in the transaction.

The deal follows Disney's acquisitions of Pixar studios for $7.4bn in 2006 and Marvel comics for $4.2bn in 2009.

"Our valuation of Lucasfilm is roughly comparable to the value we placed on Marvel when we announced that acquisition in 2009," Disney said, adding that the valuation was almost entirely driven by the Star Wars franchise.

Transition

George Lucas launched Lucasfilm in 1971 and the first Star Wars film was released in 1977.

"For the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see Star Wars passed from one generation to the next," Mr Lucas said.

"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."

Mr Lucas will continue as a creative consultant.

Kathleen Kennedy, currently co-chairman of Lucasfilm, will become president of the firm and will be the executive producer on the new Star Wars films.

She worked on the Jurassic Park and Back to the Future franchises and co-founded Amblin Entertainment with Steven Spielberg.

When the later Star Wars films were released in the 1990s and 2000s, although they did well at the box office, they were generally not well-received by fans.

But Josh Dickey, film editor at Variety magazine in LA, said that Disney was a "great fit" to update Star Wars.

"They're so good at branding and brands. They're so good at working with existing intellectual property and making it resonate with fans and marketing it very well," he told BBC World Service radio.

"They're not as good at creating original content, except for their Pixar division.

"I think if you bring together the minds from Pixar [and] the minds from Disney, the news that Disney is going to reboot Star Wars was a lot more exciting to fans than just 'there's gonna be another Star Wars'."

Jedi fans "really, really excited"

Surprise

Lucasfilm is also the production company behind the Indiana Jones franchise, and fantasy films Willow and Labyrinth.

Michael Corty, analyst at Morning Star, said Disney's deal was clearly part of a pattern in buying new franchises.

"Pixar was the first big one, then Marvel, and now this one here," he said.

"Because Lucas is private, I would assume most investors would be surprised."

 

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  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 159.

    Personally I hope the first Timothy Zahn trilogy (Heir to the Empire, Dark Force Rising, The Last Command) makes it to the big screen.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 158.

    This sort of reaction annoys me - Star Wars movies have always been written for teenagers. What teenagers like changes. Otherwise, we'd all still be listening to big bands music......

    You like the originals, as you were children when they came out, so they were written for you. And watching them now, reminds you what it felt like to be a kid.......

    I doubt your grandad's liked the Rolling Stones

  • rate this
    +14

    Comment number 157.

    Cowboys in space takes a new twist.

    Disney once asked Ken Russell to do a film on Beethoven. However, in the film they couldn't portray Beethoven being deaf. When Russel pointed out that his deafness was fundamental to the music, he was told. "Disney doesn't want people who are ill in his movies"
    Disney!!!

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 156.

    No doubt the small print in the contract will forbid Disney from releasing the original cinematic releases of 4, 5 and 6 on DVD/BD. Oh well, George, you'll continue to miss out on my cash contribution to your royalties if that's the case.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 155.

    I am a Star Wars nerd, and I'm laughing at some of these comments. If you don't want to see it, if you think the franchise (!) will be devalued, avoid it. Ultimately, they were kids' films with a darker side and now it's been handed over to a company with a history of making kids' films. They can't take away the first 3, so why not just wait and see? Remember, Episode 4 was expected to bomb.

  • rate this
    +24

    Comment number 154.

    "It's a trap!"

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 153.

    it will be interesting to see what they do originaly there were 9 movie scripts in draft form they have now made the first 6 so there is room for the last 3 also there are hundreds of books in the star wars world that they could adapt for film there is lot of material that could easily be used it all depends on how good a job they do and im not going to hold my breath on that one

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 152.

    Jar-Jar Binks says it all with the SW Franchise as does SW:Tor hype to the max then let us down before hyping the next to the max. STOP milking the fans for cash and make a good film its not hyper space science :facepalm:

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 151.

    so it seems....the darkside has won !

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 150.

    ....Avoid the Ewoks Disney must.....Hmmmmm very powerful the lure of Kiddies dollars this will be....Once started down this path forever will it dominate their destiny....Remember, greed creates suffering, the suffering of fans that see childhood memories destroyed, the darkside this is....

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 149.

    I hope the moderator is a star wars fan, else they'll be wondering what we're all banging on about!?

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 148.

    137. Sci fi is not just for kids, 30 I with Star Trek, Star Wars, Flash Gordon etc and still enjoy them. Can't imagine your average 6 or 7 year old being able to sit through 2001, Solaris, The Andromeda Project etc. Can't really say the Alien films were for kids either! Sci fi is for all but Star Wars should have been left at the first 3 films. anything else is just a travesty.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 147.

    A seventh Star Wars? i bet that's going to be great... May the dross be with you.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 146.

    I am a reasonably big fan of the franchise and at 1st I was worried, but then I thought about Avengers and Thor (et al since Marvel was sold to Disney) and feel a lot better about it. Also I am in my 30s and have a 2 year old son, he will be 5 when ep7 comes out and he will (hopefully) get to feel the excitement and wonder that I did after watching the original films when I was young.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 145.

    I think Disney will give a new burst of life to Lucasfilm, And hardcore star wars fans didn't like the last three movies Lucasfilm made so at the risk of sounding cliché 'Haters gonna Hate'. A lot of the epic films nowadays are made by Disney, things like Pirates of the Caribbean etc. Plus Disney have a great deal of money to invest in what has become one of my favourite story lines of all time.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 144.

    Now Disney can disappoint me in the way George Lucas intended...

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 143.

    "Disney buys Star Wars maker Lucasfilm from George Lucas"

    Disney Matter, sorry...

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 142.

    So much rage from Star Wars fan's.
    Don't give in to hate, that leads to the dark side.


    But in all seriousness, I don't see how the series could get ANY worse. Lucas alredy did a good enough job of that.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 141.

    The stories are already out there.

    (Star Wars: The Thrawn Trilogy)
    Heir to the Empire
    Dark Force Rising
    The Last Command

    They wouldn't be bad films IMO.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 140.

    122.tom
    However they might just deliver pirates 4...
    ---

    Pirates 4 has already been made, it's called On Stranger Tides, and was released in 2011.

    I for one would welcome a Pirates 5 (Johnny Depp is comedy genius imo) over a Star Wars 7-9. And I'm sure I'm not alone as the majority of the Sci-Fi community and the comic book community despise the efforts of Disney in those genres.

 

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