In a surprising move, the Walt Disney Co. has agreed to acquire Lucasfilm Ltd., owner of the Star Wars franchise, from founder and chairman George Lucas for $4.05 billion.
The stock and cash transaction means Lucasfilm will join Disney's global portfolio of brands including ESPN, Pixar, Marvel and ABC. But more importantly, the deal sets Star Wars episode 7 for release in 2015.
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"For the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see Star Wars passed from one generation to the next," said George Lucas, chairman and CEO of Lucasfilm, in a statement. "It's now time for me to pass Star Wars on to a new generation of filmmakers.”
Lucas said he’d always believed Star Wars would outlive him, and that he was confident that under Disney’s stewardship, the iconic franchise would “live on and flourish for many generations to come.”
Lucasfilm, will remain in its current location in San Francisco's Presidio for now, according to a Disney press release, with Kathleen Kennedy, current Co-Chairman of Lucasfilm moving up to become President, reporting to Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn.
Kennedy will also serve as the brand manager for Star Wars and serve as executive producer on new Star Wars feature films, with George Lucas serving as creative consultant.
Star Wars feature films have earned a total of $4.4 billion in global box office totals to date.
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