According to numerous published reports, the Walt Disney Company is set to buy LucasFilm, the producers of the Indiana Jones and Star Wars films, from George Lucas for roughly $4 billion.
An investor conference call is scheduled for later this afternoon where more details will be laid out.
"Lucasfilm reflects the extraordinary passion, vision, and storytelling of its founder, George Lucas," said Robert A. Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company. "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."
Star Wars: Episode VII is reported to be in development for 2015, with more slated for the future, which apparently doesn't bother series creator George Lucas.
"For the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see Star Wars passed from one generation to the next," said George Lucas, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Lucasfilm. "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."
Kathleen Kennedy, current Co-Chairman of Lucasfilm, will become President of Lucasfilm, reporting to Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn. Additionally she will serve as the brand manager for Star Wars.
There is no word yet as to whether Star Wars veterans like Lucas himself, Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford or others may participate in the sequels. It's also unclear how this move affects the planned Star Wars: Detours animated series from Seth Green.
If Star Wars Episode VII hits its mark for 2015, that means the studio will have numerous Marvel tentpole films, including The Avengers 2, released that year as well as a new Star Wars film. That could potentially line up the studio to have the highest-grossing year in the history of the industry.