The Force is strong with this merger. Disney announced on Tuesday that it had purchased Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion in cash and stock shares. In conjunction with the news, Disney also revealed that plans for a seventh "Star Wars" film, "Star Wars: Episode VII," are in motion with eyes on theatrical release in 2015.
During a conference call announcing the merger, it was reported that Disney executives said they wanted to release an "Episode VII" and "Episode IX" as well. The films would ideally reach theaters every two or three years.
"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," Lucas, who directed four of the six "Star Wars" films, said in a statement. "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."
Echoed Disney chairman and chief executive officer Robert Iger, "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."
According to Iger, the deal came with "an extensive and detailed treatment for the next three ['StarWars'] movies."
Lucas released a video discussing the future films, saying that he has story treatments for not only three new "Star Wars" films, but also "a bunch of other movies."
"We are absolutely going to make 'Star Wars' movies," Kennedy said in the video release, "and we are in the midst of the really fun part of the process, which is we're sitting down with a couple of writers and we're starting to discuss ideas."
Lucas said he decided to do the merger, in part, to give "Star Wars" stories to future generations.
This isn't the first time Disney spent this much to acquire a beloved geek property. In 2009, the company bought Marvel for $4 billion, giving it control over superheros like Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk and Thor. According to Variety, the deal also gives Disney the rights to "Indiana Jones."
For more on the Disney acquisition of Lucasfilm, head over the Disney website.