On Oct. 30, Lucasfilm, along with affiliates THX Ltd, Skywalker Sound, Industrial Light & Music and LucasArts, was officially acquired by the Walt Disney Company, and Disney has plans for the acquired material, which includes both the Star Wars franchise and the Indiana Jones franchise, that have since polarized fans across the internet.
The agreed upon transaction value was $4.05 billion, with Disney paying half in cash and issuing 40 million shares to cover the rest. Prior to this transaction, Lucasfilm was completely owned by George Lucas, former Chairman and Founder.
“For the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see Star Wars passed from one generation to the next,” the 68-year-old Lucas said in a press conference posted online, “It is now time for me to pass Star Wars on to a new generation of filmmakers.”
Disney has since confirmed that a new Star Wars trilogy is currently in the works, with Episode VII to be released in 2015.
Disney CEO Bob Iger has also confirmed that, as long as Disney owns the franchise, fans can expect a new Star Wars film “every two to three years.”
The first film to carry the Lucasfilms emblem was Lucasʼs 1973 homage to teens growing up in the 1960s, titled American Graffiti. Following the release of Graffiti, Lucas entered into a deal with 20th Century Fox to release a space epic he called The Star Wars.
The original Star Wars film, subsequently subtitled Episode IV: A New Hope, was released to theaters in the summer of 1977. The film was a surprise hit, generating two sequels, subtitled Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back and Episode VI: Return of the Jedi in 1980 and 1983, respectively.
As far back as 1976, George Lucas had discussed Star Wars as at least three trilogies, with a prequel and sequel trilogy following the original. In 1999, the prequel trilogy came to pass with the release of Episode I: The Phantom Menace, which was followed by Episode II: Attack of the Clones and Episode III: Revenge of the Sith in 2002 and 2005, respectively.
However, these films did not fare as well as the original trilogy and Lucas later chose not to make a sequel trilogy, stating “Why would I make any more when everybody yells at you all the time and says what a terrible person you are?”
Disney has revealed that, although Lucas never wrote a completed screenplay for a Star Wars sequel, he had made many notes that included ideas for possible plot lines and characters for Episode VII, VIII and IX, and even for Episode X, XI and XII. However, it has not been revealed how much of this source material will make its way into the new films.
No directors or writers have been announced yet for the new projects. However, several rumors have been floating around the internet with names such as Christopher Nolan (director of the latest Batman film trilogy and Inception), J.J. Abrams (creator of Lost and director of the latest Star Trek reboot) and Joss Whedon (creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and director of The Avengers and The Cabin in the Woods) attached to future films.
Disney assures that all Lucasfilm employees will remain in their current locations, with current Co-Chairman Kathleen Kennedy being promoted to President of Lucasfilm. George Lucas will be serving as creative consultant on the future films. No plans have been released yet regarding the future of the Indiana Jones franchise.
By Mark Rotondo