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Mickey Feels the Force – Disney buys Lucasfilm

So uh…are you prepared to live in a world where this is a thing now…

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Did someone forget to tell me that October 30th is the new April fools day?  I mean it has to be right?  Cause Disney just bought Lucasfilm…

drevil

 

For 100 Billion dollars!

Err I mean four billion dollars.

From the press release:

BURBANK, Calif. & SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Continuing its strategy of delivering exceptional creative content to audiences around the world, The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) has agreed to acquire Lucasfilm Ltd. in a stock and cash transaction. Lucasfilm is 100% owned by Lucasfilm Chairman and Founder, George Lucas.

Under the terms of the agreement and based on the closing price of Disney stock on October 26, 2012, the transaction value is $4.05 billion, with Disney paying approximately half of the consideration in cash and issuing approximately 40 million shares at closing. The final consideration will be subject to customary post-closing balance sheet adjustments.

“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.”

“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.”

Under the deal, Disney will acquire ownership of Lucasfilm, a leader in entertainment, innovation and technology, including its massively popular and “evergreen” Star Wars franchise and its operating businesses in live action film production, consumer products, animation, visual effects, and audio post production. Disney will also acquire the substantial portfolio of cutting-edge entertainment technologies that have kept audiences enthralled for many years. Lucasfilm, headquartered in San Francisco, operates under the names Lucasfilm Ltd., LucasArts, Industrial Light & Magic, and Skywalker Sound, and the present intent is for Lucasfilm employees to remain in their current locations.

Kathleen Kennedy, current Co-Chairman of Lucasfilm, will become President of Lucasfilm, reporting to Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn. Additionally she will serve as the brand manager for Star Wars, working directly with Disney’s global lines of business to build, further integrate, and maximize the value of this global franchise. Ms. Kennedy will serve as executive producer on new Star Wars feature films, with George Lucas serving as creative consultant. Star Wars Episode 7 is targeted for release in 2015, with more feature films expected to continue the Star Wars saga and grow the franchise well into the future.

WAIT THE WHAT THE?!?!?!?!?!

EPISODE FREAKING 7 IN 2015?!?!?

Okay the news is earth shattering enough, that is that Lucas would even sell his baby.  I guess we could have seen this coming what with his retirement.  He even stated in the press release that by selling the company he has effectively set up the transition of the Star Wars property to carry on long after he is gone.

That’s all well and good but how you going to go out, on 10/30/12, with absolutely no hype and bury the holy grail announcement that fans have been waiting years for and thought might never come in the bottom of a press release.

Episode VII in 2015

Its not some crappy TV show.  Not a movie about Rogue Squadron.  Or some bounty hunters or smugglers.  Not even a reboot that I was sure Lucas was positioning for with the 3d re releases of the other films.

Its spelled out right in the press release, Episode VII.  A continuation of the Star Wars Saga.

This is about the biggest geek story I can think of.  I mean what would be more anticipated then Episode VII?  Since Return of the Jedi we have all been wondering what happened to our fearless band of rebels once they became victorious.  1983…that’s 30 years we have anxiously been waiting as denial after denial trickled out from Lucasfilm that Episode VII would ever be made.  And here the grand announcement is revealed as a throw away sentence tied on to the end of the acquisition press release like its no big deal!

And they end it by saying more feature films will be coming to grow the franchise well into the future. Well I guess it makes sense.  You pay 4 billion dollars for a company the likes of Lucasfilm and while it may be awesome to produce a Grim Fandango sequel or a Maniac Mansion movie the quickest way to make your money back is to crank out some new Star Wars movies…Lucas be danged I guess.

I mean this is a guy who has said the following when asked in interviews about Episode VII, VIII & IX:

  •  “The movies were the story of Anakin Skywalker and Luke Skywalker, and when Luke saves the galaxy and redeems his father, that’s where that story ends.”
  • Q: Does that mean you won’t do Episodes VII, VIII and IX?  Lucas: I will not do VII, VIII and IX.  Q: You will not? Will they be made by somebody else?  Lucas: No. They will not.  Q: So this trilogy ends it?  Lucas: This is it. This is all there is.
  • “I’ve left pretty explicit instructions for there not to be any more features. There will definitely be no Episodes VII–IX. That’s because there isn’t any story. I mean, I never thought of anything. And now there have been novels about the events after Episode VI, which isn’t at all what I would have done with it. The Star Wars story is really the tragedy of Darth Vader. That is the story. Once Vader dies, he doesn’t come back to life, the Emperor doesn’t get cloned and Luke doesn’t get married…”
  • “Why would I make any more, when everybody yells at you all the time and says what a terrible person you are?”

The writing was probably on the wall with that last quote, said by Lucas earlier this year as part of an interview with The New York Times.  You can only resist another trilogy for so long but after the beloved trilogy Lucas waited some 20+ years to share with us the next chapter of his baby and the world crapped on it.  He was probably gunshy to ever give us another batch of movies after the negative response.

His retirement was phase one in his plan, the sell is phase two.  Now he can stay on as creative consultant to give his input on the next wave of movies but distance himself from the end product and not get beat up because the next trilogy cannot possibly live up to the impossible fan boy expectations.

Rumor of course has it that Hamil, Ford and Fisher have all been approached to return to the roles that helped to make them household names.  The script would of course have Luke playing the Obi Wan role, passing down the Jedi knowledge to a new generation…of course if we are basing this off of some glorified fan fiction I’m sure we can find a way to resurrect Darth Maul and Vader as the bad guys right?  It would be good for the toy line after all…

But who knows what we will get.  I for one am just happy to hear that Episode VII is in fact being made.

And sheesh Disney…any more beloved companies you want to snatch up while you are at it?  Pixar, Marvel, Muppets, Star Wars…all under the house of mouse.

Star Wars, like you’ve never seen it before…

I guess you could call this a “New” new hope?

Some people, have waaaay too much time on their hands and use that time for useless endeavors (surfing the web, playing warcraft, etc…). Others have waaay too much time on their hands and put that to use by creating amazing fan documentaries using footage that some direhard fans have never seen before and is far and away better then anything Lucas has put out on Star Wars.

Behold the amazing work of Jambe Davdar who has recreated the beloved franchise using alternate takes, clips from interviews and cut scenes to give us a unique original look at the Star Wars universe. Below is part 1 of 13 which basically goes through the original Star Wars movie but he has also done the same thing with Empire and Jedi.

You can view the rest of his work here.