George Lucas made it a point to always be an indie film maker. Everything he did was without the help of corporate bigwigs and film tycoons. He spent $100K a pop on each of the amazing digital video cameras that have been delivering us his beautiful films for the last few years. Out of pocket. But it looks like his days of being the Lone Ranger of film making has come to an end, as he closed a deal with Disney to sell LucasArts and LucasFilms for a cool $4.05 billion.
“LucasFilm reflects the extraordinary passion, vision, and storytelling of its founder, George Lucas,” said Robert A. Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company. “This transaction combines a world-class portfolio of content including Star Wars, one of the greatest family entertainment franchises of all time, with Disney’s unique and unparalleled creativity across multiple platforms, businesses, and markets to generate sustained growth and drive significant long-term value.”
So what does that mean for us sci-fi geeks who liked Star Wars and those guys who still live in their parents’ basements, living and breathing the sacred trilogies? Well, apparently Disney has more movies planned. And there have been talks of theme parks and more springing from this transaction. While some would call George Lucas a sell-out, I completely understand where he’s coming from here. His company could go on without him as he retires, but he doesn’t want it to simply go on. He wants it to grow and flourish. And if there’s one thing Disney knows how to do, it’s flourish.
“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 Chief Executive Officer of LucasFilm. “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.”
The Co-Chairman at LucasArts, Kathleen Kennedy, will be made Chairman after this transition, and George Lucas will stay on as a creative consultant. I don’t think anyone actually expected the visionary to retire. They are working together for the 2015 release of Star Wars Episode VII, with more feature films planned thereafter.
While many will see this as the end of an era, many of us also look forward to the amazing things that Disney will do with the Star Wars franchise. Disney has already purchased Pixar and Marvel, and combined with the amazing team that already comprises Disney Studios, there’s going to be a beautiful future for the Star Wars world. With the highest-paid creative consultant in Hollywood.
Alan’s take: George Lucas has been very gracious with the fans in terms of allowing fan fiction. In my opinion, it’s the main reasons why Star Wars is as popular as it is. I hope that Disney doesn’t suddenly sick their lawyers on those making independent Star Wars fan films and other creative projects.
I also hope that the next films continue the story with Luke, Leia, Han and the others. There are a ton of books from the “Extended Universe” which carries on the story, and I hope that Disney uses this information to legitimize these works as canon.