Disney buys Lucasfilm for billions, will make new Star Wars films
31st Oct 2012 | 00:43
The Jedi really returns
Luke, Leia and Han Solo are all now property of the Walt Disney Company.
Disney has bought Lucasfilm, the company run by George Lucas, puppet master behind the legendary Star Wars film franchise, for $4.05 billion (UK£2.52, AUD$3.90).
The deal is a cash and stock transaction, with half the payment being paid out in hard cash and the rest issued in approximately 40 million shares.
While the move might come as a shock to Lucas fans, an even bigger bit of news surrounds the deal.
As Lucas bids farewell to his company, Disney announced a new Star Wars film - Episode VII - is expected to arrive in 2015.
Passing the torch
No details about the film exist, except that Kathleen Kennedy, co-chairman of Lucasfilm and the company's new president, will serve as an executive director while Lucas acts as creative consultant.
More parts to the Star Wars saga are expected to unfold on the big screen in the coming years, Disney also announced, with a new film expected to debut every two to three years.
The acquisition also means a host of Lucasfilm properties are now under Disney's expansive Mickey Mouse-shaped umbrella.
Along with Lucasfilm and Star Wars, Disney now owns LucasArts, Industrial Light & Magic and Skywalker Sound. The Indiana Jones franchise is also part of the deal.
For his part, Lucas said he was ready to relinquish his lightsaber to worthy followers.
"It's now time for me to pass Star Wars on to a new generation of filmmakers," Lucas said in a press release.
"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."