Tuesday, October 30, 2012 , Updated 10:00 p.m., October 30, 2012
With Disney’s purchase of Lucasfilm, it’s a full-scale nerdery
Mickey, I'm your father!
Disney just wasn’t big enough already, I guess. The company announced today that it has purchased Lucasfilm (you know, the Star Wars factory) for $4.05 billion.
They also announced a targeted 2015 release date of Star Wars: Episode 7. I have to assume that means the film will take place after Return of the Jedi, but that’s about all we know. Will it delve into the extended universe stuff seen in the books? Will Luke Skywalker be back? Who knows?
George Lucas, chairman and CEO of Lucasfilm, said in a statement, “For the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see Star Wars passed from one generation to the next. 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.”
Combined with the fact that Disney also owns Marvel as well as Pixar, that’s a lot of beloved franchises under one roof.
This leaves me with a few questions right off the bat:
• Does this affect the Star Wars live action TV series that Lucas has been trying to get off the ground for awhile?
• When will we see “Star Wars Land,” or at least Star Wars attractions at Disney Land/World? ::EDIT:: It’s been pointed out to me a couple of times that Disney World in Orlando already has a Star Wars ride. Obviously the Dallas Morning News doesn’t send me to Disney World often enough.
• Will Obi-Wan Kenobi appear in the new Kingdom Hearts game?
• When will we see the Donald Duck and Howard the Duck crossover Christmas special?
• Does this affect LucasArts, the Lucas game studio currently working on Star Wars 1313?
UPDATE 3:30 PM: According to Twitter reports from a Disney investor call, Star Wars Episode 8 and 9 are also confirmed, with the plan being to release a new Star Wars feature film every two to three years.
UPDATE 3:56 PM: Our own Robert Wilonsky points out on Twitter that we already have a Darth Mause logo:
UPDATE 4:06 PM: During the investor call, the topic of Indiana Jones came up, and the franchise was not considered in the value of this acquisition. Disney seems very focused on Star Wars today. Maybe they’ll talk about other franchises in the future.
Disney has also noted that George Lucas will serve as a consultant moving forward, and has already consulted for “the first trilogy starting in 2015.” But “his intention is to retire.”
They also mentioned that they like the potential that the Star Wars franchise might have on Disney XD.
UPDATE 4:19 PM: Something I failed to catch while listening to the investor call: In terms of video games, Disney’s current plan is, “We’re likely to focus more on social and mobile than we are on console. We’ll look opportunistically at console, most likely in licensing rather than publishing, but we think that given the nature of these characters and how well known they are, and the storytelling, that they lend themselves quite nicely, as they’ve already demonstrated to the other platforms.” This according to Polygon.
That’s somewhat sadly in line with Disney’s recent approach to their video game properties. They’re giving a ton of freedom to Warren Spector’s Junction Point Studios in Austin, where they are getting ready to launch Disney’s Epic Mickey 2 across nearly all platforms next month, but aside from that they haven’t been putting much money into the interactive medium. They even canceled the very promising looking Pirates of the Caribbean: Armada of the Damned. They’ve also closed down several studios lately.
UPDATE 4:30 PM: The official Star Wars YouTube account has posted a video of George Lucas and Kathleen Kennedy discussing the future of Star Wars, the Disney buyout, and his thoughts on retiring. “I’m doing this so the films will have a longer life,” Lucas says.
The Future of Star Wars Movies
UPDATE 4:47 PM: A little Googling reveals that this news may not be too out of left field. After all, the Disney cast has already been on set for yet another “Special Edition” re-release of the original Star Wars trilogy.
UPDATE 4:55 PM: As our own Peter Welpton have pointed out: Can we entertain the possibility of a Joss Whedon-directed Star Wars film?
UPDATE 4:58 PM: Our movie critic Chris Vognar has blogged his thoughts on today’s news. Star Wars and Disney: A match made in corporate … heaven?
UPDATE 5:28 PM: Kotaku may be without a “real” website right now as part of the Gawker outages caused by Sandy, but that didn’t stop them from dreaming up Star Wars: Episode 7′s opening credit roll.
UPDATE 5:34 PM: Wired’s Geek Mom has posed the question: Will Leia become a Disney Princess?
UPDATE 5:49 PM: Hey, remember when George Lucas told TMZ that new Star Wars movies were “never” coming? Good times, good times.
UPDATE 5:56 PM: Ron Gilbert, former LucasArts employee and creator of the highly acclaimed and much beloved Monkey Island series, would like to buy the rights to that series from Disney. There’s just one problem…