Walt Disney company has agreed to buy Star Wars maker LucasFilm in a cash and share deal worth $US4.05 billion.
Disney part-financed the deal, which includes all merchandising, by issuing 40 million new shares.
In a regulatory filing, Disney said there would be a new film in the Star Wars series.
"Star Wars Episode 7 is targeted for release in 2015, with more feature films expected to continue the Star Wars saga and grow the franchise well into the future," Disney said.
“It’s now time for me to pass Star Wars on to a new generation of filmmakers," said LucasFilm CEO George Lucas in a statement included with Disney's Securities and Exchange Commission filing.
The six Star Wars movies to date have earned a culmulative $US4.4 billion at the box office.
Mr Lucas held 100% of LucasFilm, and will remain a creative consultant under the Disney ownership.
NBR Technology Editor Chris Keall said today that creative control of the franchise should be handed to filmaker Joss Wheden. While the original Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back were classics, Mr Lucas' further work on the franchise was creatively exhausted, over-written, and smothered by excessive CGI.
It was easy to see how painfully cloy Lucas creations like Jar Jar Binks would appeal to Disney, Mr Keall said. Fans could only pray that Disney saw sense.
The over-rated JJ Abrams should be kept well away from the franchise, Mr Keall added.
RAW DATA: Disney's SEC filing (Word Doc)
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