Star Wars fans rejoice. Or lament with wailing and gnashing of teeth, depending on how this announcement strikes. Howsoever one's midichlorians lean on this issue, whether a person believes it a victory for the forces of good or condemnable evidence of Sith treachery, Disney Corp. recently announced its acquisition of George Lucas' famed LucasFilm imprint, including its famous Star Wars franchise.
According to a recent press release put out by Disney, in a combined cash and stock options deal valued at $4.05 billion, they've closed negotiations on a purchase of Lucasfilm, the company George Lucas founded in 1971. Included in the purchase is special effects and sound studios, Industrial Light & Magic and Skywalker Sound, and ownership of the "Indiana Jones" franchise. This comes on the heels of Disney's purchase of Marvel Comics and its popular Spider-Man, Iron Man and X-Men franchises in 2009 for $4.2 billion.
Lucas expressed an interest in seeing the company he founded live on beyond himself, and cites this new deal as a means of passing Lucasfilm, along with the Star Wars franchise, to the next generation of filmmakers and fans:
For the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see Star Wars passed from one generation to the next. 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.
I'm confident that with Lucasfilm under the leadership of Kathleen Kennedy and having a new home within the Disney organization, Star Wars will certainly live on and flourish for many generations to come.
Of particular interest to fans of the series is news of Disney's intentions of continuing the Star Wars saga, with Episode 7 set for a tentative 2015 release date and at least two more films to follow. Reportedly the next trilogy will focus on the continuing story of much older versions of Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Han Solo. Lucas will remain at the company as a creative consultant and the new films will be based on treatments written by him.