Walt Disney CEO Bob Iger announced today The Walt Disney Company is acquiring Lucasfilm, the company founded by George Lucas and home to the mega “Star Wars’ franchise. Included in the $4.05 billion purchase are the rights to its franchises, stories, and businesses, including Industrial Light and Magic and Skywalker Sound.
And if that isn’t big enough of a story, it has also been announced that a seventh “Star Wars” film is in development for release in 2015: STAR WARS: EPISODE 7. The announcement states there will be “more feature films expected to continue the Star Wars saga” in the future. In a conference call, Iger revealed Star Wars Episode 8 and Episode 9 will follow, expecting a new film “every 2-3 years.” Iger also noted Episode 7 is in “early stage development right now.”
In addition, Star Wars shows are being developed for TV, with Iger noting the Disney XD channel would be a good place for them to end up on.
Also included in the agreement is the Indiana Jones franchise.
Here is audio of the full conference call (minus Q&A) that followed the announcement, featuring Bob Iger and Disney CFO Jay Rasulo:
Disney has also released a video featuring Bob Iger and George Lucas discussing the announcement:
The agreement was signed earlier this morning, though had been discussed between Lucas and Iger for about a year and a half – roughly when Disney grand opened the new version of Star Tours at Walt Disney World.
According to Iger, Lucas made the firm decision to sell “pretty recently” and will continue to act as a consultant.
Disney is confident they can easily turn a profit on the purchase of Lucasfilm, with Iger noting that Disney will “maximize the value” of Lucasfilm “above and beyond the purchase price.” He further noted, “Disney respects and understands … the importance of iconic characters and what it takes to protect and leverage them effectively.”
Briefly mentioned in the press release (included below) is the link between Lucasfilm and Disney’s worldwide theme parks in Orlando, Anaheim, Paris, Tokyo, and beyond, but no further specific plans to integrate the two are stated. Iger said there are “ample opportunities” to include and/or expand “the presence of this franchise in our parks,” specifically noting Hong Kong Disneyland and the upcoming Shanghai Disneyland. There have long-standing rumors of a “Star Wars Land” to be built in one of Disney’s parks and this acquisition will certainly add gallons of fuel to that fire.