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The Obligatory “Disney Buys Star Wars” Post

Honestly, I’m not that shocked by this.

George Lucas is not eternal, and he’s been looking for buyers for various parts of the Skywalker Ranch (and empire) for months, if not years.  Disney gets another well-known and universally-accepted brand, just as it did when it bought Marvel for the same figure in 2009.  Plus — and this might be the biggest coup in the deal — it gets Industrial Light and Magic, THE digital special effects house in all of movie making.

Now, Disney doesn’t have to pay contracts for its computer effects; it can just ship them off to another wing of the company or merge with ILM whatever they already had in house.  Somebody had to make the effects for the more recent “Tron” after all?

The Walt Disney Company has agreed to buy Lucasfilm Ltd., which includes the Star Warsfranchise, for $4.05 billion in cash and stock from George Lucas, it was announced Tuesday.

The deal includes a tentative 2015 release date of Stars Wars Episode 7, along with the possibility of growing the franchise with more feature films.

“Lucasfilm reflects the extraordinary passion, vision, and storytelling of its founder, George Lucas,” Robert A. Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company, said in a statement.

Current Co-Chairman of Lucasfilm, Kathleen Kennedy, will become President and report to Walt Disney Chairman Alan Horn.

“This transaction combines a world-class portfolio of content including Star Wars, one of the greatest family entertainment franchises of all time, with Disney’s unique and unparalleled creativity across multiple platforms, businesses, and markets to generate sustained growth and drive significant long-term value,” Iger said.

The company said Kennedy will serve as the brand manager for Stars Wars, as well as the executive producer on the upcoming film.

“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,” Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Lucasfilm, George Lucas said. “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.”

Lucas will be serving as creative consultant on Stars Wars Episode 7, Disney said.

Frankly, I was never much of a Star Wars fan, so this news doesn’t effects me like some other geeks.  If the followers of “The Force” are upset and think they’ve become one with “the Dark Side,” clearly they were asleep during Episodes 1 through 3.

One of the immediate losers in this deal from what I can see is Dark Horse Comics, who has had the Star Wars license since 1991.  No one yet knows what will become of that contract now that Disney owns them.  After all, while Disney owns Marvel Comics (which had the Star Wars license back in the days of the original movies), it has let “Boom Studios” continue to make new books for Mickey, Donald, and the rest of the gang until the current contract expires.   In the meantime, some books have transitioned over to the Marvel umbrella.

No immediate news on that front other than a statement from Dark Horse saying that so far, nothing has changed.

Meanwhile, Cartoon Network just started the newest season of its popular “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” animated series.  If it continues after this season, expect to see it moved over the Disney’s “young boys” network, “Disney XD.”

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