According to news sources, including the Hollywood Reporter and ComicBookResources, The Walt Disney Company will be acquiring Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion in cash and stock, making Disney an entertainment Force to be reckoned with.
Under the terms of the take-over, Disney will assume full ownership of Lucasfilm, adding its live-action film production, animation, visual effects and audio post-production to the the Disney empire. The deal – which many fans pray Disney won't alter any further – also includes the entire Star Wars franchise as well as other Lucasfilm properties such as Indiana Jones.
Lucasfilm co-chair Kathleen Kennedy will become Lucasfilm president and serve as brand manager for the Star Wars franchise, reporting to Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn.
In addition she will serve as executive producer on new Star Wars projects, including a new series of feature films, the first – Episode VII – slated to be released in 2015, with more continuing the Star Wars saga, offering New Hope to the future of the Star Wars franchise.
George Lucas said in a statement, “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.”
Readers of the comic book series published by Dark Horse have a bad feeling about this, given Disneys ownership of Marvel Comics. According to Dark Horse publisher Mike Richardson, Dark Horse and LucasFilm have a strong partnership spanning more than 20 years, and “Star Wars will be with us for the near future.”
However, following Disney's acquisition of Marvel Comics in 2009, it moved Disney-affiliated comic books licensed to other publishers – such as BOOM! Studios – over to Marvel. It makes sense that eventually the same will happen with the Star Wars titles currently published by Dark Horse.