LOS ANGELES — In an announcement that caught most of the industry by surprise, iconic director/filmmaker George Lucas has agreed to sell his Lucasfilm Ltd. company to the Walt Disney Co., along with his "Star Wars" franchise for a reported $4.05 billion in cash and stocks.
The deal also includes a new "Star Wars" film sometime in 2015. In announcing the deal, Disney Chief Executive Bob Iger said the plan is for the studio to release a new movie in the series every two to three years after that.
"The Revenge of the Sith" was the last feature in the "Star Wars" series. The first film, "A New Hope," kicked off the series in 1977. That feature is known as Episode IV. It was followed by Episode V, "The Empire Strikes Back," in 1980; Episode VI, "Return of the Jedi," in 1983; and then Episode I, "The Phantom Menace," in 1999; Episode II, Attack of the Clones," in 2002; and Episode II, "Revenge of the Sith," in 2005. In 2008, the studio produced "The Clone Wars," a CG feature. A "Clone Wars" TV series followed.
In addition, several video games have been released based on "Star Wars."
The planned film would be Episode VII.
Previously, Lucas has stated that he would no longer create "Star Wars" films. This move now passes that torch to Disney and other filmmakers.
Kathleen Kennedy, currently co-chair of Lucasfilm, reportedly will become the division's president and report to Walt Disney Studios' chairman., while Lucas will serve as a creative consultant.