Disney Buys 'Stars Wars,' Plans New Films

George Lucas sells franchise for more than $4 billion

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George Lucas
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Disney has bought Lucasfilm Ltd. from filmmaker George Lucas for $4.05 billion and is planning another trilogy in the Star Wars saga, The Associated Press reports. The next film is due in 2015, with two more to follow. The storyline will pick up after Return of the Jedi, following the journeys of Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Princess Leia. Disney plans to follow that with a new Star Wars film every two to three years. Lucas is on board for the new projects as a creative consultant, and Disney CEO Bob Iger said Lucasfilm had already developed an in-depth storyline for the next trilogy.

"I'm doing this so that the films will have a longer life," Lucas said in an interview posted on Youtube. "I get to be a fan now . . . I sort of look forward to it. It's a lot more fun, actually, than actually having to go out into the mud and snow."

Disney will pay half the acquisition price in cash and the other half in newly issued stock. The deal includes Lucasfilm's production companies, Industrial Light & Magic and Skywalker Sound, and rights to the Indiana Jones franchise. Kathleen Kennedy, current co-chair of Lucasfilm, will assume the role of division president at Disney and will serve as executive producer for the new Star Wars films.