I never would have imagined the day George Lucas would sell his company, especially not to Disney. As a Star Wars fan I'm thrilled to see what the direction Disney is going to take the franchise. As a writer this may be an opportunity for writers like myself to provide Disney with some new material. With a new series of Star Wars films to come the creators of the iconic global franchise, George Lucas‘ company Lucasfilm Ltd is to be acquired by The Walt Disney Company in a $4.05bn (£2.52bn) deal, announced yesterday (October 30).
“For the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see Star Wars passed from one generation to the next,” George Lucas says of the deal. “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.”
Adding to their umbrella which includes ESPN, Pixar, Marvel and ABC, Disney is acquiring all facets of of Lucasfilm’s operating businesses – including Industrial Light and Magic and Skywalker Sound, alongside the Star Wars franchise rights.
“George Lucas is a visionary, an innovator and an epic storyteller – and he’s built a company at the intersection of entertainment and technology to bring some of the world’s most unforgettable characters and stories to screens across the galaxy,” says Robert Iger, Chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company, in a press statement. “He’s entertained, inspired, and defined filmmaking for almost four decades and we’re incredibly honored that he has entrusted the future of that legacy to Disney.”
He explains, “Lucasfilm fits perfectly with Disney’s strategic priorities. It is a sustainable source of branded, high quality creative content with tremendous global appeal that will benefit all of Disney’s business units and is incredibly well suited for new business models, including digital platforms.”
Financial details on the deal show Disney will buy Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion – a similar value to their prior acuisition of Marvel in 2009 – in an approximate 50/50 split of cash and Disney stock.
The newest feature film to come in the ongoing cult saga, Star Wars Episode 7 is anticipated for worldwide release in 2015 – with Lucas serving as creative consultant joined by Kathleen Kennedy, Lucasfilm co-chairman and new president of Lucasfilm at Disney, as executive producer, also serving as the Star Wars brand manager.
Watch Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company Bob Iger and George Lucas, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Lucasfilm, discuss the big announcement below.