Disney is buying Lucasfilm for $4 billion, adding the legendary Star Wars franchise to the entertainment giant’s stable of characters. The latest part of the Star Wars saga, Star Wars Episode 7 is targeted for a 2015 release.
“For the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see Star Wars passed from one generation to the next,” said George Lucas, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Lucasfilm, in a statement. “It’s now time for me to pass Star Wars on to a new generation of filmmakers.”
The statement about passing onto a new generation of filmmakers seems to imply that George will not be involved in Episode 7. Disney buying the franchise means that they will produce far more episodes and more will be produced so long as they are profitable. If they are ever unprofitable then they will reboot the universe and keep going.
Disney will take ownership of Lucasfilm and acquire the entire portfolio of Lucasfilm technologies, as well as its franchises like Indiana Jones.
The Lucasfilm tech includes products like THX sound and divisions like Industrial Light and Magic and Skywalker Sound, and a bunch of other cool toys that Disney will also acquire. Digital artist Joe Rosensteel notes that this is a reunion of sorts because ILM got the Renderman animation software from Pixar back when it was a division of ILM, now they’re back under one roof at the Mouse House.
Jay Rasule, Senior EVP and CFO of Walt Disney, says that the $4.05B valuation focused “almost entirely on the financial potential of the Star Wars franchise, which we expect to provide us with a stream of storytelling opportunities for years to come delivered via all relevant platforms on a global basis.”
Rasule says that Star Wars is currently very North America-centric and focused on toys. He says that they plan to extend the franchise into ‘other categories’ and grow it internationally. He notes that the licensing revenue of Star Wars alone in 2012 was comparable to the $214M in product revenue Marvel generated in 2009.