‘Star Wars 7′ To Hit Theaters in 2015; Disney Buys Lucasfilm [Updated]

Published 1 year ago by , Updated February 16th, 2014 at 9:23 am,

disney lucasfilm star wars 7 Star Wars 7 To Hit Theaters in 2015; Disney Buys Lucasfilm [Updated]

Yes, you read that headline correctly (and no, this is not some sort of elaborate hoax… we think). Walt Disney Pictures is, in fact, acquiring Lucasfilm in a deal valued at just over $4 billion. That means the Mouse House now controls the future of the Star Wars franchise – which means that more live-action films are indeed on the way, with a Star Wars 7 tentatively set to hit theaters sometime in 2015.

Scroll on down for additional information about the deal, along with the official statement from Disney Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Robert Iger – as well as the creator of the Star Wars universe (and head of Lucasfilm) George Lucas.

Earlier this year, Lucas announced his intention to leave his days of blockbuster filmmaking behind him. However, few (if anyone) could’ve predicted that meant selling the powerhouse studio he founded – not to mention, the rights to the game-changing sci-fi franchise he engineered – to Disney, a company that now owns three of the most lucrative creative bodies out there: Pixar, Marvel Entertainment, and now Lucasfilm. Here, as promised, are the official statements on the matter:

“Lucasfilm reflects the extraordinary passion, vision, and storytelling of its founder, George Lucas,” said Robert A. Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company. “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, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Lucasfilm. “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.”

Kennedy, of course, has led an illustrious career producing the collective works of director Steven Spielberg, as well as such famous titles as the Back to the Future trilogy, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Twister, The Sixth Sense, and countless other money-raking tentpole projects. She will executive produce the seventh Star Wars movie, which Lucas is slated to serve as a creative consultant on. Expect to learn much more about the project over the forthcoming weeks, as the tentative 2015 release date indicates that early development (perhaps even pre-production) is well-underway.

Suffice it to say: this is a MASSIVE development, as far as the future of the Star Wars franchise is concerned. Where the film series will go from here, who will step in to write and direct future installments, how much they will (or won’t) deviate from the style of Lucas’ much-derided prequels – as well as countless books/video game spinoffs released over the past couple decades – has yet to be revealed.

Moreover, one has to wonder: now that Disney owns the franchise, what does this mean for the long-gestating live-action Star Wars television show that was going to bridge the gap between the first two film trilogies (before this unexpected turn of events, that is)? That was viewed as a potential change-in-direction for the property, moving it towards more-adult territory beyond where the prequels or the ongoing animated Clone Wars TV series have ventured. However, now that Disney owns the rights, will that theoretical vision for a Star Wars live-action show ever see the light of day?

UPDATE: During a conference call following this big announcement (via Coming Soon), Disney revealed plans for a new Star Wars trilogy beginning in 2015, with subsequent installments arriving in 2-3 year intervals thereafter. Deadline has also mentioned that the studio is exploring the possibility of a new animated Star Wars TV series for its Disney XD channel. However, even though Disney does now have partial ownership of the Indiana Jones franchise, Paramount’s claim on the property complicates the situation – which is why the Mouse House is prioritizing expansion of the Star Wars universe over producing more ‘Indy products.’

One thing’s for certain: you’d best start preparing to worship our Disney-overlords, as the Mouse House is seemingly determined to takeover the entire entertainment industry, piece by piece…

 CLICK ON THE NEXT PAGE FOR THE OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE

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george lucas lucasfilm disney Star Wars 7 To Hit Theaters in 2015; Disney Buys Lucasfilm [Updated]

Here is the full press release for Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm:

Continuing its strategy of delivering exceptional creative content to audiences around the world, The Walt Disney Company has agreed to acquire Lucasfilm Ltd. in a stock and cash transaction. Lucasfilm is 100% owned by Lucasfilm Chairman and Founder, George Lucas.

Under the terms of the agreement and based on the closing price of Disney stock on October 26, 2012, the transaction value is $4.05 billion, with Disney paying approximately half of the consideration in cash and issuing approximately 40 million shares at closing. The final consideration will be subject to customary post-closing balance sheet adjustments.

“Lucasfilm reflects the extraordinary passion, vision, and storytelling of its founder, George Lucas,” said Robert A. Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company. “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, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Lucasfilm. “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.”

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.

Kathleen Kennedy, current Co-Chairman of Lucasfilm, will become President of Lucasfilm, reporting to Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn. Additionally she will serve as the brand manager for Star Wars, working directly with Disney’s global lines of business to build, further integrate, and maximize the value of this global franchise. Ms. Kennedy will serve as executive producer on new Star Wars feature films, with George Lucas serving as creative consultant. 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.

The acquisition combines two highly compatible family entertainment brands, and strengthens the long-standing beneficial relationship between them that already includes successful integration of Star Wars content into Disney theme parks in Anaheim, Orlando, Paris and Tokyo.

Driven by a tremendously talented creative team, Lucasfilm’s legendary Star Wars franchise has flourished for more than 35 years, and offers a virtually limitless universe of characters and stories to drive continued feature film releases and franchise growth over the long term. Star Wars resonates with consumers around the world and creates extensive opportunities for Disney to deliver the content across its diverse portfolio of businesses including movies, television, consumer products, games and theme parks. Star Wars feature films have earned a total of $4.4 billion in global box to date, and continued global demand has made Star Wars one of the world’s top product brands, and Lucasfilm a leading product licensor in the United States in 2011. The franchise provides a sustainable source of high quality, branded content with global appeal and is well suited for new business models including digital platforms, putting the acquisition in strong alignment with Disney’s strategic priorities for continued long-term growth.

The Lucasfilm acquisition follows Disney’s very successful acquisitions of Pixar and Marvel, which demonstrated the company’s unique ability to fully develop and expand the financial potential of high quality creative content with compelling characters and storytelling through the application of innovative technology and multiplatform distribution on a truly global basis to create maximum value. Adding Lucasfilm to Disney’s portfolio of world class brands significantly enhances the company’s ability to serve consumers with a broad variety of the world’s highest-quality content and to create additional long-term value for our shareholders.

The Boards of Directors of Disney and Lucasfilm have approved the transaction, which is subject to clearance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act, certain non-United States merger control regulations, and other customary closing conditions. The agreement has been approved by the sole shareholder of Lucasfilm.

Note: Additional information and comments from Robert A. Iger, chairman and CEO, The Walt Disney Company, and Jay Rasulo, senior executive vice president and CFO, The Walt Disney Company, regarding Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm, are attached.

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Source: Walt Disney Pictures

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TAGS: Indiana Jones, indiana jones 5, star wars

371 Comments

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  1. I want a reboot of I-VI and get it right this time. Then do the VII, VII, IX, X, XI and XII…

    • IV, V, VI should not be touched. though they are old, they should not suffer the reboot syndrome plaguing Hollywood classics.

      • We already have the clusterf***s that are the new versions of the old movies with Vader screaming “NO” in Return of the Jedi. WTF, George Lucas. You ruined a poignant moment. Let’s not f**k it up anymore. The old Star Wars are classics. The prequels not perfect but special in their own way, and yet, an example of what happens when you go nuts with special effects over story…not to say that Star Wars is the epitome of good story-telling –far from it– but it’s decent as far as this sort of thing goes.

        Liam Neeson as Qui Gon. That is all. He was awesome.

        • I think the only problem with Star Wars as a whole is that George Lucas attributed the success to himself. I mean he wrote the scripts right? He’s not that great a scriptwriter, most of the first three (4,5 and 6 I refuse to use roman numerals – IV, V, VI before people call me too stupid to use them) were made by other people including the concept art and a lot of the script. (Well ok I think he wrote the three nobody likes, ok the three most bitchy “hardcore” Star Wars fans don’t like because they never learnt how to not like something)

          This time we’ll have a studio that knows to bring the best people for the job as oppose to having their egotistic founder in for everything. Remember how Disney had Joss Whedon work on The Avengers? Disney are smart enough to know not only how changing too much can ruin a subsidiaries success but when a subsidiary needs to change. LucasArts needs to change. It’s gone too long with George Lucas and no offense to the man but he has a hard time excepting every idea he has isn’t the best.

          • What was the point of you saying you refuse to use the Roman Numerals when you already typed it?

  2. I wonder who will direct it can any of you picture Rupert Wayatt (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) filling Lucas’s shoes, his schedule just cleared up so you never know.

  3. I also wonder if some of the original cast such as Darth Vader’s David Prowse now that Lucas confirmed making money on Star Wars…lol.

  4. No need to reboot the prequels at all, I actually liked them, I didn’t think they were as bad as what peole make out, just start with 7 and go from there, I want to see Vadar again 1 day tho, to me he’s the face of StarWars, a character that has lived in the light and the dark, Darth Vadars return would be a cool movie but I can’t see it happening considering he died in jedi, but there are so many possibilitys with this franchise and I’m sure Disney will milk every bit of it..

    • The prequels, in and of themselves, weren’t bad films per se, just terribly dull and mediocre… and considering their potential, that was a real and genuinely missed opportunity for all concerned. That being said though, they could still be salvaged if they were all extensively re-edited by the best editor that Lucasfilm could find; tightening them up significantly, removing extraneous and/or needlessly long-winded scenes of exposition, shaping the actor’s performances better, and making each film an altogether more focused and pacy affair… that and upgrading every visual effect shot to the same flawless standard.

      If all that happened, people might look at those films with a new perspective, a pity Mr Lucas didn’t do this with the current 3-D theatrical re-releases, that would have been a perfect opportunity to give those films an actual ‘special edition’ treatment that was justified…

  5. I didn’t think the prequels were dull, just a matter of opinion I guess, the thing is they will never recapture the magic of the first series, never, it’s a Sci-Fi masterpiece, maybe cos I grew up with it I’ll never be able to shake it, that’s why they need a fresh new story starting with 7, it’s a clean slate and they can go anywhere from their, no more reboots or prequels required.

  6. Now that Disney has Fox over the barrel. Do this; you want some of the proceeds from distribution rights to the Star Wars films, ok, fine, then GIVE US BACK YOUR RIGHTS TO EVERY FRACKEN MARVEL CHARACTER YOU OWN and we’ll think about it.

    Galactus for Avengers 2

    • They already have Thanos confirmed as the villain in Avengers 2. I don’t think Disney will try to make an agreement with Fox. Because if the do Star Wars right they can make a lot of money. I do however think Fox needs to give up their rights on the Marvel characters they have cause they strike out more often then not.

  7. I don’t think these next Star Wars movies will hurt the franchise. If anything, I think it will help the original trilogy. It might inspire future generations to view the originals. Just chill out, and sit back and try to enjoy this. Who knows, maybe it’ll be good.

  8. whould it divert back to Luke or would it be new characters. I feel very wary of this idea, but am not without hope it could be good. as long as it gets back to its roots of character and story over CGI. i personally didn’t like episodes 1 & 2 but thought 3 was decent. I wonder if they’ll get Ian Mcdiarmid back, because if not there’s no point in having the emperor as he is the only man for the job.

  9. OKAY, I’m not to keen on this. Disney owns Marvel comic, Pixar, and now Lucasfilm. What’s next? Warner Brothers and the Looney Toons franchise? When is someone gonna step up and start saying the dreaded m word; MONOPOLY! This needs to stop!

  10. I couldnt see Disney ever buying out WB, they wouldnt be cheap, and WB/DC would never sell Superman or Batman, they would be silly if they did, it would take a stupid offer and lot more than 4bil for those two alone..

  11. Holy cats! I never dreamed that something like this would happen so soon. Who knows where it will lead, but it feels wonderful to me right now. I hope sincerely that they return to the classic characters (Luke/Leia/Han), and they totally should adapt Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn Trilogy.

  12. It might actually come out on May 21, 2015 – check out http://www.howlonguntilstarwars.com

  13. Wait! 2015?

    If they started to make the movie in January, that would only give them one and a half years to make the film. How is that possible? It will have to be 100% CGI.

    • They’ll have TWO-and-a-half years to make this one if they start this January not one. They’ll probably sign up a writer and director by next spring, and begin shooting early 2014, which will leave them (depending on how long principal photography lasts) about ten months to ready the film for a May 2015 release… which is perfectly reasonable as long as they use real sets, aliens created with prosthetics and animatronics, actual location filming, and a minimum of CGI effects, then again, I wish they had done this on the prequels!

  14. Not very Disney sounding, neither are characters like Darth Maul or Vader. R rated Disney movies? More childish, ridiculous Star Wars, like that Ewok tv-movie or the clone wars cartoon? Absolutely. George Lucas was not going to do another Star Wars, movie, I am sure he was re releasing another box set, what was that like every three years? Just to keep it relevant. So basically, the dark side is not going to get any darker, and the best sci-fi movie villain ever created will be a sequel hood ornament, again. Who cares? Hopefully I have a better job so I can foot the bill for a 3-D movie. Disney’s acquisition emulates that of most corporations today, the world is getting smaller. So, Avengers helped pay for this, certainly not John Carter.

  15. The prequel movies were great in that they gave the back story. However, I’m afraid that in this new age of wonderous special effects and computer generation, some studios seem to confuse quantity with quality. A story can have all the CGI possible and still not tell a decent story. I, and this is just my opinion, feel that there has not been a movie made that shows a true marriage of both story and special effects, CGI, etc. CGI alone does not a great movie make.

  16. If someone remakes the originals they will have a nerd riot

    • The Nerd Riots will probly look a lot like the zombies in the World War Z trailer.

  17. How refreshing. Its not like we’ve seen star wars six times already.

  18. Star Wars VII starring…. George Lucas as…. He’ll be like Stan Lee and get himself in as a stormtrooper or something. Or maybe we will find out in Episode XII that he is the next version of Darth Vader when his mask comes off lol

    I hate it when selfish people say end a series. I hope franchises like Star Wars and Star Trek live on forever. Star Trek has had lots of bad iterations and it always comes back. I just wish we could get Stargate back… makes me want to become a billionaire so i can produce shows like this for the fun of it.

    • Hopefully he’s a stormtrooper who bangs his head on a low hanging blast door.

  19. they should make a star wars the old republic movie that would be amazing

  20. I think we just need to give Disney a chance on this, because they have some big shoes to fill!

  21. Money talks Money talks

  22. Hopefully they won’t don anymore prequels! I hated them! I would like to see Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, and Billy Dee Williams back in their original roles in new stories.

  23. Aw, this was a really nice post. Spending some time and
    actual effort to create a really good article… but what can I say… I procrastinate a whole
    lot and don’t manage to get nearly anything done.

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