Oct 30, 2012


Disney is purchasing LucasFilm, which includes the Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Skywalker Sound and animation and special effects properties, for over 4 billion dollars, and plans on releasing a new Star Wars film. Stay tuned to this post for further updates.

LINK to press release

LINK to CNN News story

UPDATE: I listened to the Disney conference call which was short on details and focused primarily on the questions posed by financial analysts regarding the monetary impacts of such a huge deal. However, there were a few interesting tidbits of information:

  • The Indiana Jones films are partially owned by Paramount, and the earlier Star Wars films are partially owned by Fox, which  means Disney has some "encumbrances", or limitations with how much they can exploit and further monetize that franchise and those earlier Star Wars films. 
  • Disney is planning on making a series of Star Wars live-action films, the first of which is already being planned, and releasing a new Star Wars film every two to three years after that.
  • Disney is planning on expanding the Star Wars franchise further on television.
UPDATE 2: Below, George Lucas talks about the future of the Star Wars movies:

Disney's purchase of LucasFilm for 4 billion dollars gives Disney the ownership of the Star Wars empire, which includes Skywalker Sound (the sound-enhancing technology used in films), ILM (the special-effects company Lucas created which is responsible for the ground-breaking special effects used not only in the Star Wars films, but in countless other movies), the Indiana Jones franchise and of course, the rights to all of the Star Wars characters. Disney will be releasing new live-action Star Wars movies beginning in 2015, with additional films released each two to three years after that.

The shape of things to come? 

Disney and LucasFilm have collaborated on a number of projects in the past, most notably the Star Tours attraction as well as the annual Star Wars Weekends, a month-long Star Wars-themed event at Disney's Hollywood Studios in Orlando, the centerpiece being the parades through the park which feature members of The 501st Legion and Rebel Legion. These two groups are fan-based organizations who have movie-accurate Star Wars costumes and participate in and organize charity and goodwill events throughout the year. The 501st Legion has over six thousand members, many with several costumes. As a member of The 501st Legion for years, and who has participated in the marches at Disney, I can tell you this buyout of LucasFilm by Disney is not entirely unexpected, but will make life more interesting, not only for the fan base but for the movie franchise as well.

George Lucas was very supportive of The 501st Legion, which raised over eleven million dollars last year nationally (consisting of both direct and indirect contributions made in our name). Members are free to organize events for causes that interest them as long as there are no payments for appearances, and no profits are being made through the Legion. I organize an annual event for veterans called Trooping For The Troops, and members have organized and taken part in events focused on breast cancer, hydrocephalus, and sick children in hospitals, among others. LucasFilm has a close and cordial relationship with The 501st legion, and has stood up for the Legion on a number of occasions. It remains to be seen if Disney will be as tolerant. My hope is that they will understand the costuming community is a huge and very powerful, motivated base of support for the Star Wars franchise and for worthy causes, and will see it as such.

Disney will be able to bring a great deal to the Star Wars franchise, if they are careful with this intellectual property; they have done very well with the Marvel movies such as the Avengers series. It would not surprise me if Disney added more Star Wars attractions to their theme parks to coincide with the release of the next live-action Star Wars film in 2015 (which is already in early development; LucasFilm and Disney have obviously been working on this for a while). Only time will tell how this arrangement will shape the Star Wars franchise.

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