'Star Wars: Episode 7' to hit theaters in 2015 (+video)(Read article summary)
'Star Wars: Episode 7' will come to theaters after Disney finalized a deal to buy Lucasfilm, and at least two more movies after 'Star Wars: Episode 7' are planned.
A new "Star Wars" film, so far titled only "Star Wars: Episode 7," is coming to theaters in 2015 now that Disney has bought Lucasfilm Ltd., the production company of "Star Wars" creator George Lucas, for $4.05 billion, according to reports.
And that's not all – at least two films will follow episode 7, according to chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company Robert E. Iger.
"Our long term plan is to release a new Star Wars feature film every two to three years," Iger said in a statement.
"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. "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," Lucas continued. "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."
There's no word yet on the plot of the films.
The last new "Star Wars" film was "Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith" in 2005, which concluded the prequel trilogy that began in 1999 with "Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace." It was a 16-year wait for "Star Wars" fans in between the original trilogy's conclusion, 1983's "Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi."
"Star Wars" will be seen outside theaters in the future as well, according to CFO and senior executive vice president of The Walt Disney Company Jay Rasulo.
"We also expect to utilize Star Wars in other businesses including Parks & Resorts, in games and in our television business," Rasulo said.
The Walt Disney theme parks already boast one Star Wars ride, "Star Tours," which was recently revamped to include more of the franchise's beloved characters like Darth Vader and more elements from the prequel films.
There had also been rumors of a "Star Wars" TV show, which, if it existed, would presumably now air on Disney-owned network ABC. In the past, Lucasfilm had stated that writers had begun work on scripts, and Lucas said that the show would be "soap opera" with a "film noir" atmosphere.
Reaction to the news by fans has been mixed.
"I'm quietly confident that the Disney buy out will be the best thing to happen to Star Wars in decades," Telegraph film critic Robbie Collins tweeted.
"Family Guy" creator Seth MacFarlane, who parodied the first three "Star Wars" films in three separate specials on "Family," brought up the animated film and box office disappointment released by Disney last year.
A user named Olan Rogers focused on the monetary aspect.
"I'm sad to see George Lucas, who had such great ideals about filmmaking when he started Star Wars, abandon them for money many years later," he tweeted.