Star Wars creator George Lucas has sold his Lucasfilm production company to Walt Disney.
Disney have announced plans for a seventh Star Wars film which will be released in 2015.
As well as Lucasfilm, Disney will gain ownership of LucasArts, Industrial Light & Magic and Skywalker Sound.
The deal is worth $4.05 billion, with Disney paying around half in cash and the remaining balance in shares.
Current Lucasfilm Co-Chairman Kathleen Kennedy will become President of Lucasfilm, reporting to Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn. She will also serve as brand manager on the Star Wars brand and as Executive Producer of the untitled Star Wars 7 movie.
“Lucasfilm reflects the extraordinary passion, vision, and storytelling of its founder, George Lucas,” said Robert A. Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company.
“This transaction combines a world-class portfolio of content including Star Wars, one of the greatest family entertainment franchises of all time, with Disney’s unique and unparalleled creativity across multiple platforms, businesses, and markets to generate sustained growth and drive significant long-term value.”
“For the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see Star Wars passed from one generation to the next,” said Lucas.
“It’s now time for me to pass Star Wars on to a new generation of filmmakers. I’ve always believed thatStar 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.”