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The Force is Strong With Disney...

Company: Disney Interactive
Product: Disney's LucasFilm Acquisition

Disney has announced that it is buying all of Lucasfilm from its founder and sole owner, George Lucas, in a deal worth approximately 4.05 billion dollars (USD). The primary (and nearly singular) deciding factor was the future development of the Star Wars intellectual property. This acquisition includes everything Lucasfilm, including LucasFilm, Ltd., Industrial Light and Magic (ILM) and Skywalker Sound, among others.

The series of Star Wars "Episode" movies will be continued with (at least) three more movies - Episodes 7, 8 and 9, with Episode 7 slated for release in 2015 and additional Star Wars live action film releases planned every two to three years. Note that, based on the way this was stated, it was unclear to me as to whether this trend was predicted for just this new trilogy or beyond.

As for the storyline of the upcoming trilogy, no details have been revealed, but - no, it won't be a "reboot," in case Disney has revealed that, as part of the deal, George Lucas provided them with an "extensive... lengthy treatment" for what these three upcoming movies should be about and Disney is apparently pleased with the detail involved. Also, George Lucas will be serving as consultant during this third trilogy.

"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."
- George Lucas, Chairman and CEO of Lucasfilm

In addition to the continuation of the live action movie series, Disney has announced that they are considering creating animated television shows for children.

Merchandising was mentioned; specifically, Disney sees Star Wars as having a strong hold in toys, but sees opportunity to expand merchandise offerings into consumer products beyond just the toy market. (Having seen the various Star Wars products that are already on the market, from phones and lamps to beds and headphones, I have to wonder exactly what they have in mind. Full-sized R2-D2s, perhaps?)

Disney recognizes the value of the Star Wars universe, with over 17,000 characters and several thousand planets spanning 20,000 years, and plans to use characters to drive growth and to create value, as it has with its original Disney characters and the characters from its recent Marvel acquisition.

When asked about possible upcoming console videogame development, it was stated that Disney will be focusing on social games and mobile games, rather than developing Star Wars games for consoles, but indicated that they would consider licensing Star Wars for use in console games by others.

Disney has plans to utilize the new Star Wars license in parks, resorts, games and their television business in addition to movies. They are confident that they will achieve a good return on the investment of purchasing Lucasfilm. Further, the 4.05 billion dollar deal was made in approximately 50% cash and 50% stock and Disney plans to repurchase these shares within the next two years - above and beyond their existing plans to repurchase stock.

-Geck0, GameVortex Communications
AKA Robert Perkins

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Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated