Causing shockwaves through the nerd ranks earlier today was the news that George Lucas has sold Lucasfilm to Disney for a little over $4 billion. The biggest thing about this news is that Disney now wholly owns the Star Wars franchise and announced that new films will be coming in the near future, specifically saying Episode VII will be out in 2015. Obviously that is huge news, as it is the first movie post Return of the Jedi. Disney had a very friendly relationship with Lucasfilm prior to the purchase, most notably in the Indiana Jones and Star Wars rides at the various Disney parks.
Disney also now owns ILM as well, although they will continue to function as they previously have, doing work for whatever studio hires them. Lucasarts is also included in the deal, giving Disney the opportunity to pursue Star Wars video games and possibly revisiting the studio’s rich back catalog, that includes cult classic games like Maniac Mansion, Sam & Max and Grim Fandango. The Indiana Jones series is included in the deal as well but Disney is focused on Star Wars for the near future. Lucas will act as “creative consultant” but the day to day management of the Star Wars franchise will be handled by Kathleen Kennedy, a long time Steven Spielberg producer and co-chair of Lucasfilm.
I think most of the speculation and excitement is around Episode VII. If you’re a Star Wars fan, you know that the Expanded Universe includes stories up to a 1,000 years after RotJ and the movie could easily follow the new Jedis Luke trained or Han and Leia’s children or the dozens and dozens of original characters that have been created. The original cast would have to appear in some capacity but I think a new cast would have to pick up the reins. Lucas apparently has treatments for Episodes 7, 8 and 9 and we’ll probably learn more next year and in 2014.
Slashfilm has a fantastic FAQ article answering and speculating on a number of questions and we want to hear what you would like to see Disney do with full control of the Star Wars franchise.