Walt Disney Co. has agreed to acquire Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion in stock and cash, in a surprise deal that gives them control of the “Star Wars” franchise.
Deadline.com reported a couple of hours ago that Disney has confirmed that it has agreed to acquire George Lucas’ Lucasfilm Ltd, and that includes rights to the Star Wars franchise that will now continue on. The companies have targeted a 2015 release for Star Wars: Episode 7, with Episode 8 and Episode 9 to follow as the the long-term plan is to release a new feature every two or three years.
The LA Times reports that the agreement continues Chief Executive Bob Iger’s strategy of growing Disney through huge acquisitions that give the Burbank company control of key pieces of intellectual property. In 2009, Disney acquired Marvel Entertainment for $4 billion, a deal that resulted in this year’s hit “The Avengers.” In 2006, Disney acquired “Toy Story” and “Cars” maker Pixar Animation Studios for $7.4 billion.
Along with “Star Wars” and its many iterations on movie screens, in television programming, in video games and elsewhere, Mr. Lucas has been a partner in the “Indiana Jones” series, and, occasionally, in an unrelated film, like “Willow.” After the release of the first “Star Wars” film in 1977, Mr. Lucas’ Industrial Light & Magic took the lead in developing effects technologies that were used in a generation of science fiction and fantasy films.
The internet has gone haywire about this news could mean for the Star Wars franchise. It’s still unknown why George Lucas would sell for less than what Disney paid for Pixar. A couple of movies would bring back the $4 billion dollar investment easily, so it doesn’t seem that great of a deal after all.
Personally, I think Disney will reboot the Star Wars franchise at some point, and I fear Marvel will now have the means for a series of poorly written comic book crossovers between the Avengers/X-Men and the Star Wars universe.
Will this deal fix the inconsistencies Lucas has been creating in the Star Wars story line in the last few years? Or will they attempt to create their own take on one of the most popular science fiction stories of all time? Only time will tell.
[EDIT] Click here to read the official press release.