A new “Star Wars” trilogy is surely on its way and die-hard fans of the series have already aimed their light sabers at Disney, the new owner of Lucasfilm. However, if recent history is any indicator, Disney has no plans to severely alter the beloved franchise. Disney purchased comic book giant Marvel Entertainment Inc for $4 billion in 2009 and allowed the comic book giant to develop its Avengers line of superhero movies without interference.
Animation film studio Pixar is another Disney subsidiary, whose films have brought in 26 Academy Awards. Though franchises like Toy Story and Finding Nemo are big time grossers, Disney has allowed the studio to control its own production schedule, rather than forcing sequels.
“They’ve been pretty clearly hands-off in terms of letting the creative minds of those companies do what they do best,” Todd Juenger, an analyst with Bernstein Research told the Associated Press. “Universally, people think they pulled it off.”
Lucasfilm was sold for a total of $4.05 billion, a figure close to the $4.2 Disney paid for Marvel three years ago. The press release announcing the sale included a projected release date for Star Wars Episode 7, set for 2015. In 2005, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith closed out what fans refer to as the “new trilogy.” When compared to the original trilogy released between 1977 and 1983, the new trilogy has received mix reviews; leaving some fans uneager to see the storied series expanded even further.
George Lucas, the Chairman and CEO of Lucas Film, was responsible for the previous six films, but is ready to transfer control of the franchise. With Disney’s resources, a new Star Wars could have endless potential. Kathleen Kennedy, who served as Co-Chairman alongside Lucas, will become the President of Lucasfilm and brand manager for Star Wars as the company is transferred to Disney.
“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,” Lucas said via the press release. “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.”
As for the $4 billion brought in by the company’s sale, Lucas plans on donating the majority of the money to charity. Lucas announced that he plans to “devote more time and resources to philanthropy, leaving his company after more than four decades. According to a Lucasfilm rep, the money will be given to “a foundation which will primarily focus on educational issues.”