Disney is acquiring Lucasfilm (including LucasArts) and is targeting Star Wars Episode VII for release in 2015, the company announced this afternoon. After 35 years of independence, founder and CEO George Lucas is passing ultimate leadership of the Star Wars franchise and all the rest of the company's properties to The Walt Disney Company.
"For the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see Star Wars passed from one generation to the next," 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. 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."
Disney plans to start another trilogy with Episode VII, the company revealed in a post-announcement conference call. Episode VII is in early development, and Disney release a new Star Wars feature film every two to three years, with Lucas as creative consultant.
The deal includes all of Lucasfilm's portfolio, including Industrial Light & Magic, Skywalker Sound, and as previously mentioned, LucasArts. Disney similarly acquired Marvel Comics in 2009 and Pixar in 2006. The worldwide company also owns television channels ABC and ESPN, among many other media entities.
Does this mean the next Kingdom Hearts will have a Grim Fandango Land of the Dead world? Probably not, but given this news anything is possible.
UPDATE: Disney plans to "focus more on mobile and social than we are on console" games, and will look more into licensing games than publishing them, according to the conference call. We've reached out to LucasArts on how this will impact its operations and will update this article with any response.