Holy spaceballs!! George Lucas is selling Lucasfilm — including everything Star Wars — to Disney for $4 billion! And Disney is already planning Star Wars: Episode VII!!
Am I awake? Is this really happening? I don’t know whether to be elated that Star Wars is going to be in better storytelling hands, or mad at George for finding yet another way to whore out his cash cow for still more money.
Star Wars: Episode VII? Seriously?? Set after the original trilogy? Who would be in it, and what would it be about…?!
Sorry, the mind just races at all this. Let me back up for a second and do this properly.
Disney sent out a press release a short while ago announcing its $4.05 billion purchase of Lucasfilm from its sole owner, George Lucas. Not only does this purchase include all licensed Lucasfilm media properties, including Star Wars and Indiana Jones, but all Lucas subdivisions, including video game publisher LucasArts, visual effects house Industrial Light & Magic, and the highly respected sound studio Skywalker Sound. Lucas’ longtime business partner Kathleen Kennedy is taking over as CEO of Lucasfilm with this acquisition.
According to the Disney press release, Lucas sees this move as passing on the Star Wars torch, so that it can live on without him. I don’t think anyone would argue that this is smart thinking on his part. And Disney would probably be near the top of most fans’ wishlist for who should take the Star Wars reins. Disney will be able to leverage this property in not just film, but across all of its many divisions, including TV, theme parks, live shows (such as “Disney on Ice”), and of course, tie-in merch.
Good lord, I hope they don’t do Star Wars on Ice.
Perhaps the biggest news to come out of all this is that — yowza! — there’s going to be a new, third Star Wars trilogy. Lucas expressed a desire more than once over the years to do a third trilogy, filling out Episodes VII through XI, making for a total of nine films. But at the same time, he’s said that doing the prequel trilogy was so exhausting, he’d never make that third trilogy himself. Well, it looks like he’s found the perfect solution: fans get the final Star Wars trilogy they’ve always hoped for (along with who knows what else), and Lucas himself doesn’t have to be involved in making it. Yet he gets to sit back and know that his baby is in good hands, and that Disney won’t destroy the entire enterprise. The press release says that Lucas will serve as a “creative consultant” on the new trilogy.
Look, it’s smart. It makes good business sense. Lucas gets to be even more filthy rich, while Disney gets a steady new stream of income that will pour in cash for many years to come.
But I imagine that fans are going to be split on this whole thing. What do you think? Who should Disney hire to script the new Star Wars trilogy? Who should direct it?
And now that Disney owns both Marvel and Lucasfilm… Well, it’s only a matter of time, isn’t it? Plus, there’s Disney’s other major creative company: Pixar. Can you imagine the geniuses at Pixar working on Star Wars? Holy crap, now there’s something I’d get in line for.
UPDATE: Shortly after the press release was sent out, Disney held a conference call with investors where a little more information was divulged. Disney execs clarified that they are producing not just one new Star Wars film, but an entire trilogy, with plans to release them at two to three year intervals. Most intriguingly, they revealed that the acquisition deal includes an extensive treatment for all three parts of this new trilogy — presumably written by Lucas himself, though that was not confirmed — and that they “feel very good about the treatment.” They also said that the first film is “in early stages of development right now.”
And in case you’re wondering what other Lucasfilm franchises Disney might revive, the Disney execs stated unequivocally that they are “going to concentrate on the Star Wars franchise,” the implication being that it would be their sole area of focus, at least for the foreseeable future. They also reiterated their desire to integrate Star Wars into every aspect of Disney, including parks and resorts, games, television, and more.