Mickey Mouse and Luke Skywalker are joining forces.
The Walt Disney Company announced Tuesday that it has purchased LucasFilm — the company behind filmmaker George Lucas' beloved sci-fi franchise Star Wars — for $4.05 billion. As part of the acquisition, Disney announced that a new Star Wars film, the seventh episode in the series, is set to hit theaters in 2015. The film would be the first since Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith came out in 2005, and would chronologically follow 1983's Return of the Jedi.
"For the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see Star Wars passed from one generation to the next," Lucas said in a statement. "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. I'm confident that with Lucasfilm under the leadership of Kathleen Kennedy, and having a new home within the Disney organization, Star Wars will certainly live on and flourish for many generations to come. Disney's reach and experience give Lucasfilm the opportunity to blaze new trails in film, television, interactive media, theme parks, live entertainment, and consumer products."
In a conference call with reporters after the announcement, Disney chairman and CEO Robert Iger said the companies "have a pretty extensive treatment of the next three movies," he said, according to Deadline. He said films will definitely be made for Episodes 8 and 9 and that they will come out "every two to three years." In addition, Iger said there is potential for the Star Wars brand to expand in new ways beyond the big screen. "We really like Star Wars' potential on TV, and Disney XD would be a great home for that," Iger also said.
"Lucasfilm reflects the extraordinary passion, vision, and storytelling of its founder, George Lucas," Iger said in a statement. "This transaction combines a world-class portfolio of content including Star Wars, one of the greatest family entertainment franchises of all time, with Disney's unique and unparalleled creativity across multiple platforms, businesses, and markets to generate sustained growth and drive significant long-term value."
It is unclear exactly what Lucas' role in the Star Wars films will be going forward now that he is effectively retiring. He directed the very first installment, A New Hope, in 1977, as well as the three prequel films. He also helped write all six films. In the video below, Lucas says he has written story treatments for Episodes 7, 8 and 9.
Are you excited for three new Star Wars films? Do you want to see a Star Wars TV show?