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Disney buys Star Wars maker Lucasfilm, promises new movie in 2015

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)

Comments and questions
7

May the force continue with Walt Disney.

We all hope that they choose a good director. But hope leads to disappointment. Disappointment leads to Michael Bay. Michael Bay leads to pain.

Please don't let Lucas involve in anyway apart from making the coffee.

Pauline Kael pinpoints 1977 as a pivotal year, where the quality of film-making went into an inexorable decline: the year that Star Wars was produced. And I can believe it, with such rubbishy characters as 'Jar-Jar Binks'.

Mickey mouse is the new Yoda apparently.

I think we can safely say Jar Jar won't be back. Get Brad Bird and the Disney / Pixar 'A-team' on it and we might be alright!

Chris...

I wouldn't suggest either Josh or JJ to be honest for Episode 7.

Lucas hadn't really directed much before Episode 4 - apart from THX1138, American Graffiti and a handful of short films.

Ridley Scott had directed a bunch of visually stunning commercials, some British TV series episodes (Z Cars) and The Duellists before Alien, Blade Runner and the visually stunning but weird Legend (Tom Cruise as an elf called Jack - okay that's not sounding that weird)...

So Disney need to take a punt on someone who isn't going to be consumed with the burden (like Favreau for instance) and is prepared to take a risk to make a stamp on it. And not the Wachowski brothers (or brother/sister more recently).... but they're a massive multinational so the chances of Episode 7-9 being sufficiently distinctive are limited - esp with $4 billion tied up in it.