Star Wars Given New Hope In £2.5bn Disney Deal
Disney has agreed a deal to buy Lucasfilm from its founder George Lucas and says it will make a new series of Star Wars movies.
The US entertainment giant, which already owns brands such as Pixar, Marvel, ESPN and ABC, announced it is paying $4.05bn (£2.52bn) for the production company.
It also confirmed it is making Star Wars Episode 7, which is scheduled to be released in 2015.
Disney said the project would be the first in a new series of Star Wars films, with a new movie being released every two to three years.
The last Star Wars picture was Revenge Of The Sith in 2005, and Lucas had previously suggested there were no plans for any more.
The deal also includes the rights to the Indiana Jones franchise, although Disney did not reveal if it planned to revive the films featuring the action hero, played by Harrison Ford.
Kathleen Kennedy, the current co-chairman of Lucasfilm, will become its president and report to Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn.
Analyst Matthew Harrigan, from Wunderlich Securities in the US, said the deal was a good one.
"Lucas wanted Luke and Darth to be in safe hands, and now they will be," he told Sky News.
He said there was room for growth in both the film and merchandising aspects of the franchise - given the popularity of 3D films and Imax cinemas, and video and social games.
But Mr Harrigan warned that Disney must be cautious about the number of Star Wars films it releases.
"The last Star Wars movie did OK internationally - but not as good as James Bond," he said.
"There's certainly scope to grow, but Disney must be careful not to burn the franchise out.
"Releasing a film every two to three years sounds about right."
Lucas, who created the Star Wars fictional universe and with it one of the most lucrative box office draws of all time, will be creative consultant on the new films.
After the deal was announced he said: "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."
Lucas will become the second-largest individual holder of Disney shares, with a 2.2% stake.
Disney will pay about half the purchase price in cash and issue about 40 million shares to complete the deal.
Chief financial officer Jay Rasulo said the deal would lower Disney's earnings per share by a low single-digits percentage in 2013 and 2014.
He also said Disney would repurchase all of the issued shares on the open market within the next two years, on top of planned buybacks.
The deal marks the third time in less than seven years that Disney has signed a massive deal to take over iconic studios or characters, part of its strategy to acquire brands that can be stretched across TV, movies, theme parks and the internet.
In early 2006, Disney struck a deal to acquire Toy Story creator Pixar, and in the summer of 2009 it bought the comic book powerhouse Marvel Entertainment.
Mr Harrigan added: "This deal is not a slam dunk like Marvel, but it is as good as - if not better than - Pixar."
what do you think?
Blasphemy!!!! Herecy!!!! Sell out!!!! Episode 7 better follow the time line and not contain gungans or be animated other wise i will use force lightning on a kitten
I woulden't personally mind of they jumped around a little. The Era of the old republic and after contains some excellent characters. Such as Darth Revan, Bain, etc. Sidious was good tactically but his power is dwarfed by some of his predecessors.
I agree Gafyn if done corectly it could be like the last star trek film where going forward was not the answer and instead they whent back in the past of the story and it worked when other star trek films that pushed forward into the future failed badly. So i think they could easly use one of the many storys in the past to reboot starwars in its pure form and less of this over use of CGI and humor that George Lucas started too use that just messed up the story
There is a series of stories set after return of the jedi that lucas agreed with so i guess those will get made. I also agree that the old republic needs to make its big screen debut. Around the era that revan and malak find the star forge would be perfect
I just hope they reboot the 3 supposed prequels I want to pretend they (and the "M" word with the sniveling wretch that was Anakin) were never created..
And the evil empire of Disney grows ever larger...
No no no!! It's just plain wrong!
Ive just had a hideous image that chilled me to the bones. All six star wars films and a lot of the games had the 20th century fox opening which fitted well with john williams' awesome orchestral theme tune, disney has "when you wish upon a star" with tinkerbelle flying around the screen. I couldnt watch a star wars film after seeing and hearing that.
It would be ok if she's flying an x-wing.
Better not be any joyful singing and dancing in episode 7!
Can you feel the force? The force of merchandising and revenue?
Star Wars on Ice anyone? cant wait to see Darth Vader on the Disney Parade floats! Princess Leah in a pink frilly petticoat.
Flogging a dead horse. They will have goofy as jarjar although you probably wouldn't notice the difference.
I am very excited about this one! Who cares Disney will make it. Yes we probably won't be shedding a tear of happiness likewise Luke blows up the death star, but our children might. My son will be 5 by the time it comes out and he will grow up with a bit of starwars magic purpose made for his generation. Can't wait! And remember, the force will be with you, always.
Presumably the next Star Wars movie will star Mickey Mouse and R2D2
I don't really like star wars, more of a trekkie myself. My granson on the other hand loves it, so I pretend to too. We do have fun, so everyones happy. He will be made up with this news.
GL's vision for Star Wars was that it was a Trilogy. Each chapter having three episodes. The very first Star Wars film actually has "Episode IV" n the opening credits, So Disney are going to make Episodes 7, 8 and 9 !!!!
#Look at what Disney have done with marvel those films are brilliant and I think with Lucas Arts still writting the story lines and Disney using there extensive resources the next trilogy will be epic.