NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

Walt Disney Company to acquire Lucasfilm, plans to make a new Star Wars trilogy

The Walt Dis­ney Com­pa­ny, which is already the world’s largest media con­glom­er­ate (it owns ABC, ESPN, Mar­vel, Pixar, and a host of oth­er prop­er­ties) is about to get even big­gerDead­line Hol­ly­wood Dai­ly has the sur­pris­ing news:

Dis­ney has just con­firmed that it has agreed to acquire George Lucas’ Lucas­film Ltd., and that includes rights to the Star Wars fran­chise that will now con­tin­ue on. The com­pa­nies have tar­get­ed a 2015 release for Star Wars: Episode 7, with Episode 8 and Episode 9 to fol­low as the the long-term plan is to release a new fea­ture every two or three years. “The last Star Wars movie release was 2005’s Revenge Of The Sith – and we believe there’s sub­stan­tial pent-up demand”, Dis­ney said. The deal also includes rights to the Indi­ana Jones franchise.

Dis­ney will report­ed­ly pay $4 .05 bil­lion for Lucas­film — slight­ly more than it paid for Mar­vel a few years ago, and less than it paid for Pixar Ani­ma­tion Studios.

The sur­pris­ing deal is Dis­ney CEO Bob Iger’s third major acqui­si­tion. Iger has turned around the com­pa­ny after sev­er­al dis­ap­point­ing years under Michael Eis­ner, part­ly by buy­ing Pixar and Mar­vel. Now Dis­ney will con­trol Lucasfilm.

It’s worth not­ing that Lucas has giv­en his bless­ing, encour­age­ment, and sup­port to Dis­ney’s plans to release more Star Wars movies. This is inter­est­ing because Lucas has pre­vi­ous­ly said he did not plan to make any more Star Wars movies, and would not be hand­ing off the fran­chise to any­one else, either.

But evi­dent­ly, he has changed his mind.

“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,” the film­mak­er said in a state­ment. “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.”

“Dis­ney’s reach and expe­ri­ence give Lucas­film the oppor­tu­ni­ty to blaze new trails in film, tele­vi­sion, inter­ac­tive media, theme parks, live enter­tain­ment, and con­sumer prod­ucts,” Lucas added. (Star Wars rides are already among the attrac­tions at Dis­ney theme parks like Dis­ney­land and Walt Dis­ney World).

This deal pre­sum­ably means that Lucas’ rela­tion­ship with Rupert Mur­doch’s News Cor­po­ra­tion is at an end. News Cor­po­ra­tion’s Twen­ti­eth Cen­tu­ry Fox has served as dis­trib­u­tor for all six Star Wars movies to date, but Dis­ney will no doubt dis­trib­ute and mar­ket any future films going for­ward. Lucas always retained mer­chan­dis­ing rights and cre­ative con­trol over the fran­chise, so Dis­ney gains that as well.

There’s no ques­tion that Star Wars is a valu­able prop­er­ty. From Dis­ney’s per­spec­tive, there is a lot of mon­ey to be made by doing more movies. (And per­haps a live-action Star Wars tele­vi­sion show, as well). In a round­table dis­cus­sion post­ed on starwars.com, Lucas not­ed that he has said in the past he does­n’t want to do any more Star Wars films. But appar­ent­ly, he is per­fect­ly con­tent to let oth­ers make them. Kath­leen Kennedy will hence­forth be the cus­to­di­an of the Star Wars fran­chise, with Lucas serv­ing as a cre­ative consultant.

Many Star Wars fans react­ed with dis­may or incredulity.

“NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! post­ed quigon­schuel on TheForce.Net, a pop­u­lar mes­sage board for fans of Star Wars.

“All over the UK news. OMG this is the weird­est hor­ri­blest thing ever. More to say lat­er!” wrote UK Sullustian.

Obi Wanan­don­ly struck a more opti­mistic tone.

“I agree, GL [George Lucas] had to hand it off to some­one even­tu­al­ly, and they [Disney/Marvel] did knock one out of the park with ‘The Avengers.’ I am opti­mistic. On whether or not it will be a con­tin­u­a­tion of the orig­i­nal sto­ry­line, I’d think they would do a brand new thing (no Luke, Han, etc.) Then again, it might not even actu­al­ly be “Episode VII”. It’s not like they have the script writ­ten already (I’m assum­ing) so it could con­ceiv­ably be a stand­alone sto­ry arc in the SW [Star Wars] uni­verse. I think it would be awe­some if they did a tril­o­gy in the Old Repub­lic time­line, it would be fresh and new.”

“Now, I don’t like this. I mean, I real­ly, real­ly, real­ly don’t like this. But please: Tell me how Dis­ney can screw up the EU [Expand­ed Uni­verse] con­ti­nu­ity any worse than what George Lucas him­self is doing with Clone Wars these days?” asked Hogne.

JediTheSky­is­Blue added, “I have a bad feel­ing about this as well. I just don’t see how they can make a Ep [Episode] 7 with­out Luke, Leia, Han, and Chewie. But I don’t want them to recast. And I also don’t want every few years there to be a new Star Wars. Until Star Wars is noth­ing but oh no they mak­ing anoth­er one of those type of movies.”

“I was so shocked by this my hands lit­er­al­ly went numb for a sec­ond,” JediFireFly5 wrote. “Is GL [George Lucas] try­ing to kill us? I am thrilled and dis­mayed. Like if some­one dear died and you accept­ed it and moved on then they are laive but of course not the same per­son anymore…”

The deal must sur­vive reg­u­la­to­ry scruti­ny, but giv­en Dis­ney’s influ­ence in the Dis­trict of Colum­bia, get­ting the feds to sign off is prob­a­bly just a formality.

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  1. […] to get even big­ger. Dead­line Hol­ly­wood Dai­ly has the sur­pris­ing … … See more here: Walt Dis­ney Com­pa­ny to acquire Lucas­film, plans to make a new … ← Dis­ney Buys Lucas­film for $4.05 Bil­lion, Announces – Inside the Magic […]