Tue
Oct 30 2012 6:20pm

Disney Owns Star Wars and ILM Now

In a surprise move to most of the world, it turns out that Disney has bought Lucasfilm and all that the company encompasses. This move has far-reaching consequences for special effects giant Industrial Light and Magic and the Star Wars franchise as well.

Disney acquired Lucasfilm for 4.05 billion dollars, and in that deal has acquired all right to Lucas’ effects house ILM and the Star Wars brand. As a result, Disney has announced the intention to release a Star Wars film in 2015. Lucas has this to say about giving Star Wars over:

“For the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see Star Wars passed from one generation to the next. 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. 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.”

The blatant mention of consumer products are concerned makes us a little queasy, not that it’s surprising....

This is an interesting move on Lucas’ part, considering how obsessively he has tweaked the original Star Wars trilogy since 1997’s Special Edition. It raises a lot of questions about the stipulations of this acquisition—does Disney have the right to release the original cut of the Star Wars trilogy without Lucas’ go ahead? And as for this new film, will it be set after Return of the Jedi? During the Clone Wars cartoon? In another era entirely? While we want to believe the best of Disney, since they've been turning out largely acceptable movies of late, we’re forced to think of their mandate once they acquired Pixar; i.e. lots of sequels. For just about everything. We certainly hope Star Wars doesn't go down the same road for naught.


Stubby the Rocket is the Tor.com mascot. Stubby just wants a BluRay of Empire that features Boba Fett's original voice.

44 comments
Lee VanDyke
1. Cloric
G4TV.com listed the release year as 2015, but to answer the when question, I'd say it would almost HAVE to be after the Battle of Endor. Hopefully it's be set after another 20+ years, and be about the Solo/Skywalker kids.
Earl Rogers
2. Earl Rogers
Um, hasn't the Star Wars series been nothing but tons of sequels, prequels, spin-offs, merchandise, "Expanded Universe" and derivative works?

Don't fool yourselves. Lucas exploited his creation in every cheesy way imaginable. There is nothing left to defile.

On a bright note, this may mean that The Muppet Show Season 4 DVD set (with the Star Wars episode!) is now a lock for certain release.
Earl Rogers
3. Alea_iacta_est
Well... This has potential both to be a very good and a very bad thing.
I am holding my breath here.
Alan Brown
4. AlanBrown
It sounds good to me. While people love to bash Lucas, and love to bash Disney, I have always enjoyed the entertainment both organizations have produced, and look forward to what the newly merged organization develops.
Earl Rogers
5. Tesh
I just hope that they don't dip into the New Jedi Order well. It's interesting stuff (sometimes), but it's too dark.
TW Grace
6. TWGrace
Cool, Im hoping for more christmas, err lifeday, specials...
Earl Rogers
7. JCTaylor
I am not sure this is a good move for the franchise, after seeing what Disney did to the 'Legend of the Seeker' books. A briliant set of books, which where bloody, violent, sexual and entertaining and Disney turned it into a series for kids!!! I just hope they don't do the same to Star Wars. And before you start shouting I know the original films are to a certain extent safe for kids and I wouln't have it anyother way, but will Disney sanitise them even more!!!!!
john mullen
8. johntheirishmongol
I am stoked about this, since I didn't expect any more Star Wars movies in my lifetime. The real value is not just the franchise, of course, but ILM, which provides special effects for most of the big hollywood movies.
Earl Rogers
9. ged
...will Disney sanitise them even more!!!!!
You mean like having Han shoot first? Oh, wait...
Earl Rogers
10. J Perez
Darth Vader said it best: Noooooooo!!!!!! :)
Earl Rogers
11. Malazan44
Maybe they'll adapt Zahn's trilogy to film.
Peter Tijger
12. Peter-Tijger
I can already see/hear The phantom blot saying "I'm your father, Mickey".
Uncle Scrooge "The force of money is strong with this one".

This could work out fine, or incredibly, really terribly bad.

Lucas will be dipping in his pile of money just like Scrooge....done deal.
Earl Rogers
13. J Perez
In the next version, Han does not shoot, he shakes hands with Greedo and Greedo promises not to tell about Han.
Earl Rogers
14. Seamus1602
@7 JCTaylor

Couldn't disagree more about the Sword of Truth/Legend of Seeker adaptation. SOT was entertaining, but not really all that good. While I was, at first, dismayed at the show's changes, I came to love it as something completely different from the books - and realized that was a good thing.

As for Star Wars, this can only be good news. Lucas has been his own worst enemy wrt Star Wars for years - specifically the late 90's updates and the decision to direct the prequels himself. Whatever you feel about Hayden Christensen, Natalie Portman and Ewan McGregor are good actors - just not for George Lucas.
Joanne Center
15. thegloop
I can't believe nobody on this thread is mentioning Marvel at all. Everybody said when Disney aquired Marvel that they would sanitize everything, etc. The Avengers was awesome. If I can get a crossover holiday special with the Hulk and Chewbacca singing jingle bells a la Frankenstein, Tarzan and Tonto on SNL I will be happy. Oh and a Pixar made Ewok cartoon. Just because.
Alan Brown
16. AlanBrown
@15 You are helping make my point. Why do people want to focus on the negative when there are also so many awesome things that could happen?
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
17. Lisamarie
I really have no idea how I feel about this.

On one hand, everybody pretty much knows me as the resident Star Wars fanatic. I love the movies (yes, I even enjoy the prequels even if they aren't quite the same) and have even enjoyed the TV series from time to time (I think it's fun but don't take it too seriously) and have also followed the books for quite awhile.

On the other hand, I don't necessarily think more is better - can't we just let the franchise die a graceful death? Let the existing movies stand alone as a really awesome saga, instead of being a few among many (most of which will probably be pretty mediocre)? I mean, I'm cool with people publishing books and making TV shows to explore one off aspects of the universe. That's fun. But more movies? Really??? I saw some story on starwars.com where GL said something about having story treatments for 7-9 and my husband and I just burst out laughing - hasn't he been denying this for years? I love GL, he had some great ideas but he is honestly just psychotic or delusional or SOMETHING (not to mention his revisionist tendencies in the movies themselves, claiming that this is what he's 'always intended').

And I can't help but feel this is kind of a sellout move by somebody who initially wanted to make movies independent from a studio. I love Disney, I'll be honest, but that doesn't mean I want every single movie in the world to be made by them. This whole thing is really kind of mindboggling to me.

I think the other part of my unease is I am kind of a completist for the fandoms I am really into, so now it's just going to be too hard to keep up, and it's also hard for me to 'ignore' it in my head as part of the canon. Also, I know some people are probably looking forward to a new take on things, or a reboot (OH GOD, PLEASE DO NOT LET THEM REBOOT IT) or something like that, but I've always been against those...I just want the creator's original vision (and yes, I know with GL that is pretty mutable!) that I fell in love with and that's it, I don't want to see a million other 'takes' or interpretations of it.

On the other hand, if these movies end up contradicting the New Jedi Order/Legacy of the Force timeline, I will cackle with glee...

Oh well - hoping that it just ends up being some good fun and I can just ignore the rest. Or a Halloween joke ;)
Earl Rogers
18. Surak
More importantly, what does this mean for the future of Indiana Jones?
Earl Rogers
19. Lsana
What I'm really curious about is that last point: does Disney have the right to re-release the original, unedited version of the original trilogy? Because if they do have that right, and they actually do release it, then all is forgiven. I'll accept "Episode 7: The Ewoks Go to Naboo" if I can just see Episodes 4-6 with no digital characters.

Other than that, not much to say. I pretty much agree with @2 that Lucas has already done enough to the Star Wars franchise that there is nowhere left to go but up. Disney has been a pretty savy corporation, and I'll bet they take better care of the franchise than Lucas has been these past few years.
Joanne Center
20. thegloop
I don't get it either. Was it Disney who brought us Jar Jar Binks? Was it Disney who made revision after revision? Lets be honest here: at this point, Star Wars is just a brand. If they can pass this brand off to a good director then they can make good movies. As for the products, etc. they have been selling Star Wars/ Indiana Jones stuff at Disneyland for years. Actually, why has nobody mentioned Indy either. Thankfully this means no lousy Indy 5. I mean this is a win win in my book, I don't get the complainers. Coming soon: Robots University starring WALL-E and R2D2 in their wacky early years.
Sven Hesse
21. DrMcCoy
Screw Star Wars.

What I hope is that this will mean there will finally be rereleases of all LucasArts adventures on GOG or somesuch. Also, new such adventures.

Up until now, LucasArts has been pretty damn stupid when it comes to their non-Star-Wars stuff. (I leave what I think of their Star-Wars-stuff as an exercise to the reader.) I hope this changes now.
Matt Ries
22. mattries37315
To me it's a wait and see process.

The Pixar purchase resulted in that studio doing several sequels that I wasn't interested in seeing (albiet after their amazing string of films that was already in production) and only now are they doing original films again along with more sequels/prequels.

The Marvel purchase so far has been going well especially with The Avengers this year.

Thus so far some good and some bad.

With the fact that Lucas has the story points, but won't be writing the sequels or directing then they might turn out better overall then the prequels. I will admit that there were some good to great ideas in the prequels, however Lucas should have hired some actual writers to help create a better series of films for Episodes I-III.

So that's my thoughts...
Allana Schneidmuller
23. blutnocheinmal
Possible pros:
Original cut Bluray (or even the VHS edit I had with the added Han/Jabba scene and cleaned up SFX would be okay)

Lucas giving up director's chair is definitely an improvement. He's a good idea man, but someone else needs to be writing and directing.

I've never been to Disney, but a Star wars themed area could be pretty rockstar.

More John Williams!

Re: Lucasarts - Grim Fandango please! I hate when games are old and I can't play them.


Possible cons:

"Back into the Disney vault" They've been better about this lately, but I hate dearth/glut scenarios.

The next movie could suck. But honestly, that's no different all the other EU stuff. You don't know if the book/tv show/cartoon is going to be awesome or not until you experience it for yourself.
Levi Stribling
24. lpstribling
I'm happy to say that I never saw Episodes I - III and I plan on keeping it that way. For me Star Wars is still rich and vivid, and one of the sci-fi loves of my life. I have heard (and continue to hear) of all the horror that Lucas did with these Episodes and that's too bad. I think he sold out to Disney (wow, Disney of all places) because he knew he couldn't top it. But everyone's a critic. I wish him will. I just think it would be foolish for Disney to try and do anything with it.
Liz J
25. Ellisande
@20 Paramount still owns a piece of Indiana Jones, that's why it's not mentioned in the acquisition.

Overall, I think it makes sense. Lucas wants to avoid what happened to the Muppets after Jim Henson died - when his heirs screwed around, argued about it, sold it off to weird companies that had no idea what to do with it, had to buy it back, and eventually ended up at Disney anyway, after years of letting the property go to dust.

But if you all think you're going to get new wacky crossovers, that's not going to happen. Kathleen Kennedy has been close friends of Lucas for decades, and as the new one in charge, she's hardly going to go crazy as the gatekeeper.
Earl Rogers
26. Surak
@25 Various articles have mentioned that the Indiana Jones franchise is included in the deal. But--a good question. Does Paramount own distribution rights for Indiana Jones? What about the new Star Wars films--will the be co-distributed by TCF and Disney?
Matt Jarchow
27. jarchowm
I believe Paramount owns the distribution rights to the fifth Indiana Jones movie if it is ever made. All other rights are owned by Lucasfilm (now Disney)
Matthew Watkins
28. oraymw
This is obviously a dream, and I'll probably start hearing my alarm clock ringing any minute now...

hmm. Apparently I haven't woken up yet.
Earl Rogers
29. lorq
One encouraging thing is that Disney *does* understand basic story structure.
Earl Rogers
30. Syllabus
THRAWN. GIVE US THRAWN.
Earl Rogers
31. Giacomo
My concerns are about where their movie script ideas will come from since are a ton of Expanded Universe novels already establishing a canon. Is Disney going to make movies based on Thrawn, Rogue & Wraiths, The Vong? Will they focus on Jacen and Jaina as kids since its Disney? Will they add to the canon or will they make their own? George Lucas went from fighting against big studios, to being one, to selling to one, so I don't believe he will defend the work those other authors if his new masters want to go a different (more toy friendly) way - Very Darth Vader of him really. So if Disney wants to make new movies/stories to fit into the existing canon, Fine. If they want to adapt existing books to the screen, I'm in. If they are going to trash storylines and characters that have been in the making since around 1991 in the name of money, that may induce firebombing.
Benjamin Klein
32. benjaminsa
Star Wars should no longer be under copyright, it has been 35 years. Wish anyone could take the genre remix and remake it.
Francisco Guimaraes
33. franksands
The " original star wars saga" is part of my childhood and I'm still amazed with what they have accomplished with the technology of the 1970's. They're still one of the best Sci-Fi/Fantasy ever made, in my humble opinion. So, maybe now we have a chance of having a real reboot of the story, and with some amount of luck, we can have a new universe to dive into, same as what happened with Battlestar Galactica.

But, what I am really interested is if they're are going to relaunch all those supercalifragilistic expialidoutious Lucas Arts Games such as Monkey Island, Day of the Tentancle and (!!) Grim Fandango.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
34. Lisamarie
@33 and 32, a reboot is my very worst fear. We love Star Wars for a reason, I don't want to see it changed in the name of what is now trendy and cool or whatever the prevailing philosophy of the day is. I hated the Star Trek reboot too, though, and cringe every time somebody mentions Peter Jackson altering Lord of the Rings so it better fits modern sensibilities (ie, giving Faramir more of a 'journey', shoehorning in female characters in such a way that it alters the story, etc) - although, I'll be honest, I didn't mind he various comic book reboots but that is probably because I was never that invested in comic books so I took them in stride. I'm stodgy like that! Plus, I'm neurotic enough that it would bug me that there could be 'conflicting' storylines. The EU is not perfect, but for the most part it tries to keep a cohesive storyline (except where GL just railroads over it in the prequels, hahaha).

I'm aware of the irony in that in general, I really dislike revisionism and am a strong belief in authorial intent...but George Lucas himself is quite the revisionist!

I can totally understand what some people are saying about how it might be interesting to see other directors' take on the saga and I definitely agree with whomever said that Lucas has good ideas but needs help with directing/screenwriting. So it might be cool to see (if he really does have ideas and is not completely full of BS) what others make of his new ideas. It could be fun to have new movies or new stories. I do enjoy some of the EU, after all.

That being said, I still feel pretty strongly that we don't NEED new movies. I know that kind of goes against the idea of 'make more money' but...and this could be overly sentimental of me...to me Star Wars is more than just a franchise or a brand. Obviously it has become one, and I'm certainly not going to absolve GL of all responsibility of that or defend every one of his decisions (I totally understand that some people just aren't into the prequels, even if I enjoyed them, and some of the recent changes he's made irritate me too - but to me he's like that crazy relative of yours that you might gripe about but heaven forbid if somebody outside the family says something ;))...but I guess I am overly attached. I'm a little odd in that I never saw the movies as a kid - in fact, my first exposure was the Special Editions as a teenager, and it was during a very troubled time for me, and was actually part of what steered me out of that dark place. So, especially in my youth, Star Wars was a big deal for me. So now to think about possibly mediocre movies and reboots and 'reinventions',etc being cranked out all the time really bothers me. I'd prefer the movies be more unique than just a few among a huge series. Obviously I'll just have to learn to live with it - I like the prquels, others don't, and I might not like the new stuff, but maybe others will, and there's room for all of us. And I always have the ones I saw the first time (I empathize with all you that don't get your non-Special Edition versions!! Actually, even the DVDs are slightly modified from that...).

And yes, Han shot first, even I can see that ;)
Earl Rogers
35. wiredog
Best case scenario is Disney doing the Thrawn trilogy, with Joss Whedon directing.
Earl Rogers
36. Kallie
@32 - Yeah, hardly. I think copyright goes now for life of the author plus 70 years. These will be copyrighted and licensed for most of our lifetimes!
J W
37. Susurrin
I am a longtime Star Wars fan. Loved the original 3 for the classics they are and always will be. The prequel trilogy had both good parts and bad. As a fandom there's a pretty wide margin for what people like/dislike. But I think pretty much everybody can agree that there was something a little "off" about those later 3 movies.

But, I honestly don't see the bad here. At least not yet. I think anything that lets new Star Wars movies get made is ostensibly a good thing. If that same thing gets George Lucas out from being the ONLY cook in the kitchen, I say run with it!

Disney isn't stupid, they know what they have and the potential of it. They also know that fans have been more and more vocal in their dislike for what Lucas has been doing, and that those same fans will be watching what happens next very carefully.

Their track record of late has been good in this regard. (Is there anybody out there that didn't like The Avengers?) There is great potential for some really awesome movies that will blow our mind-holes in ways we never thought possible, just as much as there is a possibility that we wind up with some horribly derivitive stuff that makes suicide booths a reality (Futurama shoutout!).

Until I know for sure I am going to keep an open mind and hope for the best....just as my inner 10 year old would want me to...cuz it freakin Star Wars!!!!!
Joanne Center
38. thegloop
For those who haven't been to Disney yet, Star Wars is already WELL integrated with Star Tours, Disney themed Star Wars merchandise, Star Wars show daily in Tomorrow land where kids get up and battle Darth Vader etc. This is a natural progression. I can understand some of the naysayers if this stuff didn't already exist:
http://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/tag/star-wars/
Earl Rogers
39. tigeraid
@31. Giacomo


This is my concern as well. I've been immersed in the Expanded Universe for most of my life, from the Thrawn Trilogy all the way to the latest novels, which take place some 35-40 years after the original trilogy.

On the one hand, they would be STUPID not to use the Thrawn Trilogy as the next set of movies; Timothy Zahn's books are iconic, and a perfect follow-up to RotJ. I quiver with anticipation.

But on the other hand, that trilogy, and in fact all the books, which are OFFICIAL CANON, contain a whole lot of Luke, Leia, Han, Lando, etc... only about 5-6 years older than they were in RotJ.

So they would have to re-cast them. And that's opening up a hell of a can of worms.

Or, they're going to dump on SW fans the world over and ignore OFFICIAL CANON, since hey, that was Lucas, not Disney right? And fire the story off in some other stupid direction.

I'm half filled with anticipation, half filled with dread.

Ironically, if they completely skipped about 30 years of canon and set the new movies in the current Legacy of the Force story arc, then Mark Hamill, Billy Dee Williams and Harrison Ford would fit their roles PERFECTLY. Carrie Fisher on the other hand.... yeesh.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
40. Lisamarie
I think, technically, the EU is not considered official canon (the movies definitely contradict them in some places, and I'm not totally sure how the Clone Wars stuff fits into it either), but a lower level of canon.

That being said, I totally know how you feel - despite my sometimes love-hate relationship with the EU, I've been following it for about 15 years!
Earl Rogers
41. tigeraid
I'd always understood that it was canon, because each story requires Lucas' personal approval before publishing. Unless this has changed somehow. The prequel movies took a lot from the EU (including the name Coruscant for the Galactic Capitol.)

The idea of seeing Jacen, Anakin and Jaina on the big screen is incredibly exciting too, but I still think the Thrawn trilogy is the best option.
Benjamin Klein
42. benjaminsa
@34 the originals exist, if someone remakes something it cannot touch the past version. I love the original SW and they haven't been ruined when I rewatch them, in some ways they seem even better.
Luke M
43. lmelior
I am sorry to be the one to crush dreams, but since this story broke, someone close to the project has stated that it will be an original story.

That almost certainly means no Thrawn, so now I have very little hope for this movie. They were my first foray into the novels, and they're still by far my favorite. Granted there was always the fairly solid chance they would ruin the character, but it's still disappointing.
Earl Rogers
44. Petar Belic
@ tigeraid's quote "Timothy Zahn's books are iconic"

I strenuously disagree with that statement.

I hope they choose to ignore the entire 'EU'.

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