Disney announced earlier today that they are buying Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion. Disney CEO Robert Iger also announced plans to release a new Star Wars movie (Episode VII) in 2015. Iger explains, “our long term plan is to release a new Star Wars feature film every two to three years.”
Disney plans on paying half the deal in cash, and the other half in 40 million shares of Disney stock. The 68 year old George Lucas will remain as a consultant but plans to ultimately retire soon. “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 CEO of Lucasfilm, in a statement. “It’s now time for me to pass Star Wars on to a new generation of filmmakers.”
This deal makes it the forth largest deal ever for Disney. Disney bought out Capital Cities/ABC (ESPN) for $19.7 billion in 1995, paid $7.6 billion for Pixar (ironically started as a computer division at Lucasfilm) in 2006, and dished out $5.2 billion for Fox Family in 2001. In addition, only several years ago in 2009, Disney paid $3.96 billion for Marvel.
Both Disney and Lucas have had a long history working together with Star Wars cross merchandise, and with the Star Tours ride at the Disney Parks.
What does this mean for the future of the Star Wars franchise? Is this a good thing, or is Disney taking over the entertainment industry?