Along with fans, we were thrown into a frenzy on Tuesday when it was announced that Disney had purchased George Lucas' Lucasfilm for more than $4 billion. The deal will not only bring Luke, Leia, Chewbacca, Han and the gang into the Mouse house, but it will also serve to re-boot one of the most popular and highest-grossing film franchises of all time.
After five-decade career in filmmaking, in a YouTube video explaining the deal, Lucas said he's been contemplating retirement for a while and now seemed like the right time to hand over the keys to the Jedi kingdom.
"Obviously I've been talking about retiring for several years now," he said. "I wanted to get into sort of another stage of life where I'm not in the film business anymore, where I don't have to run a corporation. It occurred to me one day that the perfect person to run the company was [Lucasfilm co-chair] Kathy [Kennedy]. It's just such a perfect fit, and I felt that I really wanted to put the company somewhere in a larger entity that would protect it. Disney is a huge corporation; they have all kinds of capabilities and facilities. There's a lot of strength to be gained by this."
Pointing to the success Disney has had with Marvel and Pixar, Kennedy said the family-friendly company with its legendary theme parks and merchandising power was the logical choice for Lucasfilm.
The good news for fans is that they will not only get an episode seven, but, in fact, an entire new trilogy. "I always said I wasn't going to do any more, and that's true, I'm not going to do any more," said Lucas, who will not write or direct the upcoming films, but whose iconic imprint will be all over them. "But that doesn't mean I'm unwilling to turn it over to Kathy [Kennedy] to do more. I have story treatments of 7, 8 and 9 and a bunch of other movies, and obviously, we have hundreds of books and comics and everything you could possibly imagine. So I sort of moved that treasure trove of stories and various things to Kathy, and I have complete confidence that she's gonna take them and make great movies."
Kennedy revealed that meetings have already begun with prospective writers for the new movies. "I'm doing this so that the films will have a longer life," Lucas said. "So more fans and people can enjoy them in the future. It's a very big universe I've created and there's a lot of stories sitting in there."
In a separate video announcing the deal, Disney CEO Bob Iger had nothing but praise for Lucas' vision for the "Star Wars" universe, which he noted now includes 17,000 characters inhabiting several thousand planets spanning 20,000 years. "George Lucas is a true visionary and an innovative, epic storyteller who has defined modern filmmaking with unforgettable characters and amazing stories," said Iger.
The pact will also spin off new TV shows, games and theme park attractions and Iger said the company fully understands the responsibility that comes with stewardship of such iconic, beloved characters. In the same video, Lucas said he's been a fan of Disney all his life and that the deal will allow him to move into more philanthropic efforts as well as work on more experimental films that don't fit into the Lucasfilm universe.
"It was a perfect match of two companies that are constructed similarly," Lucas said. "It will give me a chance to go off and explore my own interests [and] at the same time feel completely confident that Disney will take good care of the franchise that I've built."
The best news of all? "We have a large group of ideas and characters and books and all kinds of things," Lucas said. "We could go on making 'Star Wars' for the next 100 years."