The Walt Disney Company announced on Tuesday that it is purchasing Lucasfilm in a stock and cash purchase valued at $4.05 billion. The deal includes plans for Star Wars: Episode VII, aiming for release in 2015. Walt Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger announced in a shareholder conference call that the studio also plans to release Episode VIII and Episode IX. “Our longterm plan is to release a new Star Wars feature film every two to three years,” he added, noting that the deal came with “an extensive and detailed treatment for the next three movies.”
“For the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see Star Wars passed from one generation to the next,” said Star Wars creator and Lucasfilm CEO George Lucas in a statement. “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.”
Veteran producer Kathleen Kennedy, who recently became co-chairman of Lucasfilm, will become the studio’s president, reporting to Disney studios chairman Alan Horn. She will executive produce the future Star Wars films, with Lucas serving as a creative consultant.