Media and entertainment giant Walt Disney has announced a nearly $4 billion deal to acquire George Lucas’s renowned film studio, including his epic sci-fi “Star Wars” franchise.
Along with the purchase, announced Tuesday, Disney also unveiled plans for a seventh live-action Star Wars movie in 2015 — part of a trilogy that will eventually include episodes 8 and 9.
The 68-year-old Lucas, who has run his company from San Francisco for 35 years, said the time has come to pass Star Wars on to a new generation of filmmakers. “I’ve always believed that Star Wars could live beyond me, and I though it was important to set up the transition during my life time,” he said.
Lucas announced plans earlier this year to retire, and named producer Kathleen Kennedy as chief executive of LucasFilm, which he wholly owns. Kennedy is now slated to become president of Disney’s LucasFilm unit.
The deal marks the third time in seven years that Disney has moved to acquire a studio or character portfolio. In 2006, the conglomerate acquired “Toy Story” creator Pixar, and three years later purchased comic book giant “Marvel Entertainment.” Analysts describe the moves as part of a Disney strategy to acquire brands that can reach across television, movies, theme parks and the Internet.
(George Lucas photo by Terri Hodges/flickr.com)