Star Wars Episode VII will land in cinemas in 2015. The news came yesterday amidst a surprise announcement that Disney are acquiring Lucasfilm, which made the first six movies, in a staggering $4billion (£2.5bn) deal.
Disney confirmed that George Lucas, who brought the iconic film franchise to the silver screen, would act as a “creative consultant” on the upcoming instalment – the first for a decade – and that more films could be expected as they looked “to continue the Star Wars saga and grow the franchise well into the future.”
Lucas, who owns Lucasfilm Ltd outright, introduced audiences to the Star Wars universe in 1977 with the first in a trilogy of movies starring Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford. After a 16-year hiatus he then returned to the franchise for a series of prequels featuring Liam Neeson, Ewan McGregor and Natalie Portman. The films form part of the third highest grossing franchise in movie history, having made more $4.4 billion at the global box office to date.
Details of Episode VII have yet to be released but it is expected the movie will form part of a long rumoured sequel trilogy, which follows on from the events of 1983’s Return of the Jedi.
“For the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see Star Wars passed from one generation to the next,” George Lucas said in a statement released yesterday. “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.”
In a statement announcing the deal, Disney stated that the acquisition “offers a virtually limitless universe of characters and stories to drive continued feature film releases and franchise growth over the long term.” That growth is expected to include the portfolio computer games, TV shows and entertainment technologies that Lucas and co have built up over the past 35 years.
The multi-billion dollar acquisition follows Disney’s successful purchase of Pixar in 2006 and their big money acquisition of comic book giants Marvel in 2009.
Below is a video that George Lucas and Disney have released discussing the future of the Star Wars franchise: