The force is strong with Mickey Mouse.
The Walt Disney Company announced on Tuesday that it is purchasing Lucasfilm in a stock and cash purchase valued at $4.05 billion. The deal includes plans for Star Wars: Episode VII, aiming for release in 2015, with more Star Wars movies planned to “grow the franchise well into the future,” according to the release.
“For the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see Star Wars passed from one generation to the next,” said Star Wars creator and Lucasfilm CEO 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.”
Veteran Hollywood producer Kathleen Kennedy, who recently became co-chairman of Lucasfilm, will become the studio’s president, reporting to Disney chairman Alan Horn. She will executive produce the future Star Wars films, with Lucas serving as a creative consultant.
As for the new Star Wars installment, the companies only would say that Lucasfilm’s Kathleen Kennedy would be executive producer on Episode 7 and any more Star Wars movies, and Lucas would serve as creative consultant. There was no indication about where the story would pick up, though technically in the franchise’s chronology it would follow Star Wars: Episode 6 — Return Of The Jedi, the third film in the initial trilogy that came out in 1983.
Disney also acquired the technologies from the San Francisco-based company, which operates under the names Lucasfilm Ltd., LucasArts, Industrial Light + Magic, and Skywalker Sound.