A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away a little film called Star Wars was released into theatres, spawning an entire universe of movies, books, comics and even a religious movement. 35 years later the independent star system of Lucasfilm is set to join the Galactic Republic of Disney.
In October 2012, Disney announced its intention to acquire Lucasfilm for $US4.05 billion (see report here). The acquisition will add to Disney’s fantasy/animation portfolio, placing Luke Skywalker and Indiana Jones side by side with the X-Men, Buzz Lightyear and of course Mickey Mouse.
Disney will also get LucasArts Industrial Light & Magic and Skywalker Sound as part of the deal, production companies responsible for such iconic lights, sounds and special effects as lightsabers, the Imperial March and the (sporadically successful) jump to hyperspace. George Lucas intends to retire, but will maintain a Yoda-like role as creative consultant.
It was an obvious case of “let the wookiee win” for the FTC, who cleared the deal from an antitrust perspective on 3 December 2012 (see report here). This follows on from the FTC’s clearance of Disney’s acquisition of Pixar Animation Studios in 2006 and Marvel Entertainment in 2009.
To top it all off, Disney has also announced plans to produce three more Star Wars films, with the seventh film in the series expected to be released in 2015.
Which leads us to wonder what other value Disney could extract from the Star Wars franchise. With rumours that Disney plans to produce a sequel to Finding Nemo, perhaps this is a second chance for the most hated of all Star Wars characters – Jar Jar Binks? Wolverine and Chewbacca would surely get along, given their shared penchant for excessive use of force and incomprehensible grunting. Plus, who could imagine a more apt combination than Wall-E, C-3PO and R2-D2?