Die hard fans of the iconic Star Wars franchise are freaking out after learning that George Lucas just sold Lucasfilm to Disney for $4.05 billion, but after suffering through a trio of sequels that brought Jar Jar Binks into the world, maybe this isn't such a bad thing. Regardless, it happened, and Disney is already planning a new Star Wars movie, which it's targeting for a 2015 release.
George Lucas indicated that he's looking forward to being a fan of the franchise now that he's entering the next stage of his life, one that doesn't involve running a multi-billion corporation. He will still be involved, but not like before. His main goal was to hand over the reins and ensure that Stars Wars would be in a position to thrive long after he's gone.
"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."
Kathleen Kennedy, current Co-Chairman of Lucasflim, is now the President of Lucasflim and will report to Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn. She will also serve as the brand manager for Star Wars.
News of the acquisition has sent the Internet into a snarky frenzy, but it's worth noting that Disney owns both Marvel (purchased for $4 billion in 2009) and Pixar (purchased for $7.4 billion in 2006), and has overseen movies like The Avengers, Thor, and WALL-E. Disney's done an especially good job with its Marvel assets up to this point, so having Disney in the mix isn't necessarily a bad thing, especially when you look at what's been done with the Star Wars franchise in the past several years.
That said, it will be interesting to see how Disney handles licensing gigs. Seth MacFarlane, creator of Family Guy, tweeted that he'd "bet money on" this marking the end of his Star Wars parodies.