Disney acquires LucasFilms

IT WAS ANNOUNCED this Tuesday that Disney is acquiring LucasFilm, the production company founded by George Lucas which is behind the mega Star Wars film series and Indiana Jones franchise. Disney will pay the total sum of $4.05bn – half in cash, half in stock. Commenting on this very unexpected move, Lucas stated that “it’s now time for me to pass Star Wars on to a new generation of film-makers.” Disney have also announced a new Star Wars film, Episode 7, with hopes of doing a third trilogy depending on the success of the proposed film (which is targeted for release in 2015).

This is one of a succession of recent Disney acquisitions – following the purchase of Pixar in 2006 and Marvel in 2009.

George Lucas recently announced his plans to retire, naming his successor as Kathleen Kennedy. Kennedy, who is currently co-chair of LucasFilm, will become President, overseeing the transition to the Disney organisation and serve as an executive producer on the next Star Wars film. Additionally, she will serve as the brand manager for Star Wars, where she will work with Disney to expand the franchise.

Is this a good move?

NO 

Laura Say

Although for a lot of Star Wars fans it’s a good thing there will be new movies, I worry that the new films will make the first less credible; George Lucas set Star Wars to rest many years ago, and the films are too old to attract a big enough audience to do the originals justice. Many ‘sequels’ (such as Pirates of the Caribbean 4) detract from the plot or sometimes even recreate it completely (Hangover Part
2, anyone?). LucasFilm has been fading into non-existence for quite a while – their last major release was a remake of Revenge of the Sith in 2005 – and with Lucas’ recent retirement, a lot of people were expecting the company to fade completely, leaving only the legacy behind; the merge with Disney has the potential to destroy this.

YES 

Andrew Simpson

Finally the franchise has been released, allowing for the next generation of films and paraphernalia. Although there have been a lot of Star Wars-related works, LucasFilm has only served as a second producer in most cases. With this acquisition, however, LucasFilm and Disney together can work to produce not only new films, but new attractions (Disney have already announced plans for theme park rides) and products. The acquisition has come at a perfect time- not only will fans be thrilled to have a concrete plan on the future of the series, but many newcomers will be drawn in. George Lucas himself commented on the multi-generational nature that seems innate to Star Wars, and Disney is the perfect vehicle to bring Star Wars back to both children and adults alike.

Final Verdict

Laura – Whether Star Wars will make a return to our screens is no longer in doubt; the question now is how well-received it will be and how well Disney will produce it.

Andrew – Expect to see lots more LucasFilm productions with this acquisition – Disney has the capacity to take LucasFilm, expand it, and bring it back to its former glory.