Lucasfilm sells, Star Wars VII in 2015
In a surprising move George Lucas has sold Lucasfilm to Disney, stepping away from the idea that there might be more Star Wars films to follow the existing six, although he's not stepping away that far.
While Lucas has sold Lucasfilm he's not exactly walking away as he'll remain on as a creative consultant which, worryingly for what will follow, means he'll still have a hand in the new Star Wars films. Oh yes, I did use the plural there.
The announcement suggests that Lucasfilm and all the other companies trading under its banner - LucasArts, Industrial Light & Magic, and Skywalker Sound - are all going to continue as is under the wide reaching arms of Disney but without George Lucas at the head, instead Kathleen Kennedy is to step up from current co-chairperson to President of the company and what's called the brand manager for Star Wars ensuring that it integrates with Disney and that it continues to grow.
Star Wars: Episode VII is going to happen and with it probably VIII and IX too.
George Lucas said of the deal:
"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."
Frankly it was time to pass it on before you started on Episode I, II and III, but never mind we're beyond that now.
It's clear that Disney are going to go wild with the merchandising but I really do hope that they keep focussed on delivering another few films in the franchise and that they concentrate on keeping true to the original three films.
Lucas has done some amazing things with Star Wars though and outside of the famous franchise as the other companies as ILM and Skywalker Sound clearly show. Even with the problems in the last three films he's made in the franchise they still delivered the magic of Star Wars, a magic that he brought to us way back in 1977. Oh my, I'm getting old.
Let's not feel any sense of loss though, Lucas will still have his hand in all things Star Wars as that creative consultant, thankfully people can override him when he has the oddball moment for characters and storylines. Let's not feel sorry for him either as the deal is worth over US $4bn, aka £2bn.
It'll be interesting to see how Disney takes Star Wars forward and if they can refrain from using the typical brick morality that comes with Disney films.