Disney has purchased Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion and has now acquired the full rights to the entire Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises. Lucasfilm is also known for Labyrinth, Howard the Duck, The Land Before Time (and Radioland Murders, but no one’s ever seen that. I love it).
Disney has already announced the green-lighting of a new Star Wars trilogy. The new film, Episode VII, will be in theaters in 2015 and to butt heads with the likes of Avengers 2 and the hypothetical Justice League movie. Episodes VII, VIII, IX will start off around 20-30 years after Return of the Jedi and will deal with the rebuilding of the Republic and Luke Skywalker’s ascension to Jedi Master.
Here’s the kicker. George Lucas will only be serving as creative consultant, planning to retire off the billions of dollars he has. In a statement he said,
“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.”
Star Wars fans should be happy to be rid of Lucas after witnessing the prequel trilogy. Fresh blood has the potential to turn Star Wars into something much greater. Under the thumb of Disney, though, it might end up like Tron.
It is uncertain at this time how this deal will effect Dark Horse’s Star Wars line of comic books. Since Disney also owns Marvel, it can be expected that they will want the licensing rights back under their own publishing arm before too long. Dark Horse has been publishing licensed Star Wars comics since the early 90’s, which currently accounts for a good portion of their publications on the shelves every month. They are known for Star Wars: Legacy, Dark Times, Crimson Empire, Dark Empire, Empire, Knights of the Old Republic, Rebellion, Republic, Tales of the Jedi, Clone Wars and many, many, many more. They had recently altered their publishing approach in 2010 to publish a series of mini-series, including Dawn of the Jedi, Knight Errant, The Old Republic (based on the game), Agent of the Empire and Blood Ties (exploring Jengo and Boba Fett). Dark Horse had just announced a new Star Wars (pictured above) series by Brian Wood, returning to the original Star Wars universe.
It should be noted that after the acquisition of Marvel, Boom! Studios stopped production of their highly successful Disney licensed properties, including The Muppet Show and it’s spin-off titles, Darkwing Duck, Chip and Dale’s Rescue Rangers and Duck Tales. Dark Horse will continue to publish the comics they have planned, but the creation of new comics will most likely cease until Disney takes back the rights. The publishing of Star Wars comics would then fall solely to Marvel Comics. Boom eventually moved on to launch Adventure Time!, Ice Age, new Peanuts comics as well as Garfield, so Dark Horse may need to look elsewhere too.