The Walt Disney Company Buys Star Wars, Indiana Jones
Disney Now Owns Lucasfilm Ltd. and All of its Properties
Published: Monday, November 5, 2012
Updated: Monday, November 5, 2012 16:11
The Walt Disney Company announced last week in a studio press release that it has acquired Lucasfilm Ltd. -- George Lucas’ film studio -- for $4.05 billion and that “Star Wars: Episode VII” is already slated for a 2015 release.
Only a few days ago, that sentence would have looked like a fragment of some obvious hoax. In fact, at first I thought that it might actually be a hoax.
It’s no joke, however, and that’s not all. Disney has also stated that “Star Wars: Episode VII” will be followed by episodes VIII and IX “every other year.” That means we’re actually getting the original nine film saga Lucas has talked about for decades -- and very soon, too.
Despite the new trilogy having been mentioned by Lucas in the past, his future involvement with the series will actually be very limited. The upcoming third trilogy will not be written or directed by Lucas, with him acting only as a story consultant. Basically, that means that he’ll be around to make sure that everything the creators do makes sense within the world that he began with A New Hope (then just called Star Wars) in 1977.
When the subject of Indiana Jones (another Lucasfilm property) was brought up to Disney during an investor call dealing with the new acquisition, Disney stated that it was simply focusing on Star Wars for now.
Disney also has what are supposedly very detailed script treatments detailing the next three Star Wars films.
Dale Pollock, the author behind the unauthorized biography “Skywalking: The Life and Times of George Lucas,” told The Wrap that he has been able to see these treatments, but was forced to sign a confidentiality agreement to keep him quiet about what he knows for now. He did let slip, however, that the version of the final trilogy’s script that he saw featured an older Luke Skywalker.
“It was originally a 12-part saga,” Pollock said. “The three most exciting stories were 7, 8 and 9. They had propulsive action, really interesting new worlds, new characters. I remember thinking, ‘I want to see these 3 movies.’”
Another detail about the upcoming films -- which is as of yet unverified, but sounds completely plausible -- comes from E! Online that states that the third trilogy will not be based on a story from the expanded universe. If true, this would mean that the three films will feature their own, original stories and would not be adaptations of any of the books, games, comics or TV shows.
Whether or not that means that those media will or will not be taken into account in terms of story (the films have first right in terms of canon, followed by television, and then comics, books and games) is yet to be determined. The Cartoon Network series “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” has previously been lambasted by the fan community for rewriting certain parts of the fiction (namely the history of Mandalore) differently than what was established in certain book series.
The acquisition of Lucasfilm Ltd. also gives Disney control of Skywalker Sound and Industrial Light and Magic. The special effects and sound studios are often regarded as one of, if not the best in their respective fields. What that means for other Disney owned projects outside of the Lucas properties for now is unclear. However, it could give Disney yet another very powerful tool in effects-heavy franchises such as “Tron” and its Marvel properties.
Speaking of Marvel properties, this announcement places the next Star Wars film’s release in the very same year as “The Avengers 2.” Not only that, but Warner Bros.’ “Justice League of America” film is slated for that very same year.
With all three films incoming, 2015 is sounding like not only a good year to be a nerd, but a landmark in moment in the culture. We’ll just have to wait and see if all of the movies manage to meet their not-inconsiderable expectations.