via NY Daily News:
George Lucas, the franchise’s creator, had long said he originally envisioned having nine “Star Wars” movies.
The Force is strong with Disney.
In a development that even Yoda couldn’t have foreseen, the Walt Disney Co. has agreed to purchase Lucasfilm, the production studio behind the “Star Wars,” movies for $4.05 billion in cash and stock.
The studio immediately announced that it would release a “Star Wars” Episode 7 in 2015, the first of what is expected to be a new trilogy.
George Lucas, the franchise’s creator, had long said he originally envisioned having nine “Star Wars” movies – but recently announced his retirement from big budget movie making after only two trilogies. (Including his much maligned prequel trilogy that started with 1999’s “The Phantom Menace.”)
“For the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see Star Wars passed from one generation to the next,” Lucas said in a statement. “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.”
That transition will be supervised by Kathleen Kennedy, the long time producer of Lucas pal Steven Spielberg, who was recently tapped to head up Lucasfilm before the announcement of the sale. Kennedy got the job with an eye towards shepherding three new “Star Wars” movies, a source close to the negotiations told the Hollywood Reporter.
The blockbuster acquisition of Lucasfilm is just the latest front on Disney’s all out conquest of geek culture, having already bought Pixar in 2006 and Marvel Studios – which gave them the No. 3 grossing film of all time with “The Avengers” earlier this year – in 2009.
“This is another jewel in the crown of the Disney empire,” says Paul Dergarabedian, box office analyst for Hollywood.com, who added that the studio could have a stranglehold on the multiplex in 2015 with a new “Star Wars” movie and an “Avengers” sequel both scheduled. “It seems like they own all the toys in the toybox.”
Earlier this year, Lucas sparked ire among his former disciples after he vowed to never make another “Star Wars” movie — and put the blame squarely on fanboys who complained about his newer movies and his regularly tweaking of the original trilogy.(There was a time when Han Solo shot first and when Sebastian Shaw played the ghost of Annakin Skywalker.)
“On the Internet, all those same guys that are complaining I made a change are completely changing the movie,” Lucas told The New York Times magazine, “I’m saying: ‘Fine. But my movie, with my name on it, that says I did it, needs to be the way I want it.’
“Why would I make any when everybody yells at you all the time and says what a terrible person you are?”