Disney Buys Lucasfilm, Plans 'Star Wars: Episode 7' for 2015 Release
No it's not April Fool's. No Hurricane Sandy hasn't driven everyone crazy. This is real. THR has word that LucasFilm has just been bought by Disney for $4 billion with longtime producer Kathleen Kennedy and current Lucasfilm co-chair becoming president. But that's obviously not the biggest news. Apparently news has broken out that Disney is planning Star Wars: Episode 7 for a release in 2015. The story is still developing and we're waiting for more details, but this is about the craziest, biggest bit of news since Marvel started their plan for The Avengers back in 2007. But will Star Wars fans rejoice or cry foul? More below!
Here's chairman and chief executive of Walt Disney Bob Iger signing the papers with George Lucas:
Lucas had this to say in an official statement announcing the purchase by Disney:
"For the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see 'Star Wars' passed from one generation to the next. 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."
As a huge Star Wars fan, there's a breadth of stories in the expanded universe to draw from, and with Kathleen Kennedy in control, George Lucas taking a backseat and Disney (who is now doing wonders with Marvel) working together, maybe this won't be as disastrous as the prequels. As for my personal preference for the story, I'd like to see The New Jedi Order be the focus of what will presumably be a new, but there are over 35 years of books, comics and more that could inform a set of sequels.
The question is just who will direct these films from this new generation of filmmakers? George Lucas has been inching towards retirement, Kathleen Kennedy taking over Lucasfilm was part of that. Is this something that Steven Spieberg would step up to direct? He's one of the few directors George Lucas has trusted with his vision and he even helped with action sequences in Revenge of the Sith, but he's not a new genertion. Maybe J.J. Abrams, who successfully rebooted Star Trek could step up to the plate? There are way too many questions and more details are still emerging so stay tuned to this post for updates.
UPDATE: Executives said, "“What we’re buying, is an extensive treatment for what would be the next trilogy.” So that means there's three more films coming in the Star Wars saga. In addition, they're looking to release one every other year. So count on Episode 8 in 2017 and Episode 9 in 2019. That's one year less than Lucas needed to deliver, so hopefully that doesn't diminish the quality of the sequels.