George Lucas is about to become really, really rich.
On Tuesday, the Walt Disney Company announced it had purchased Lucasfilm, the production company behind "Star Wars" and "Indiana Jones," for $4.05 billion. Disney paid half the offer in cash and issued about 40 million shares at closing, making it $2 billion in bills and $2 billion in stock. Lucasfilm is 100 percent owned by George Lucas himself.
How rich is the director/screenwriter/producer set to become after the $4 billion deal?
Prior to Disney acquiring Lucasfilm, George Lucas had about $1.4 billion in cash, investments and other assets, according to CNBC, citing Wealth-X. This amount, however, did not include the value of his private companies, namely Lucasfilm.
Forbes estimates Lucas' net worth at $3.3 billion as of September 2012. Lucas ranked No. 120 on The Forbes 400 list. With the Disney check in his pocket, Lucas' net worth could skyrocket to about $5.2 billion after taxes, according to CNBC:
[E]ven after taxes, Lucas will likely become among the 70 richest Americans, vaulting from around 120. His liquid net worth alone will more than double to $3.1 billion. Plus, he reportedly gets to keep his Skywalker Ranch, the plush campus of work and residential space that has a swimming pool, volleyball and handball court and aerobics room. Located on more than 4,000 acres in Marin County north of San Francisco, it is worth at least $100 million, according to Wealth-X.
The 68-year-old seems to be happy with his decision to sell Lucasfilm to Disney.
"I'm completely confident that Disney will take good care of the franchise I've built," Lucas says in a video recorded with Disney chairman Robert Iger. "At the same time, for me, I look at it as I'm investing in Disney, because that's my retirement fund."
The move is certainly wise for Disney, which now adds one of the most enduring and profitable sci-fi franchises to its books. Lucasfilm joins Pixar, which Disney acquired in 2006, and Marvel, which Disney acquired in 2009 (also for $4 billion), Wired reports. "The move essentially means Disney has cornered the market on superhero and sci-fi/fantasy films," Wired reporter Angela Watercutter writes.
Disney also announced plans to release a seventh "Star Wars" film, "Star Wars: Episode VII," in 2015.
"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."
Joss Whedon has the skills and geek cred to make any wary "Star Wars" fan feel at ease about "Episode VII." Unfortunately, he's too busy making "The Avengers 2" for Disney; like the new "Star Wars" film (still feels funny to write that seriously), Marvel's much-anticipated sequel is due out in less than three years. There's always "Episode VIII"! <br clear="all"> <br clear="all"> <strong>ODDS</strong>: N/A
Genndy Tartakovsky is beloved by "Star Wars" fans for created the "Clone Wars" animated series, which is no longer canon. (<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/14/genndy-tartakovsky-hotel-transylvania_n_1884046.html">Find out more here</a>.) "I was going to go to Lucas and be their John Lasseter-type of person and do a feature and supervise the 'Star Wars' television show. And things kind of fell apart, blah blah blah," Tartakovsky said to HuffPost. Yeah, he's out. <br clear="all"> <br clear="all"> <strong>ODDS</strong>: 600-1
Edgar Wright and/or Joe Cornish
Another popular name to direct "Episode VII" being bandied about by "Star Wars" fans is Edgar Wright. The thought being that since Wright is an avowed fan and a genre fanatic, he'd be perfect to continue the beloved-but-fledgling franchise. Of course, like Whedon, Wright is also tied up in a Marvel-Disney project: The long-gestating "Ant-Man" film, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/15/ant-man-2015-disney-iron-man-3_n_1967527.html">which is set for 2015</a>. Since he's out of the picture, perhaps frequent collaborator Joe Cornish could take over? <br clear="all"> <br clear="all"> <strong>ODDS</strong>: N/A, 400-1
<a href="http://movieline.com/2010/04/03/tale-of-the-tape-joss-whedon-and-louis-leterrier-battle-for-the-avengers/">Back in 2010</a>, Louis Leterrier was Joss Whedon's biggest competition for the director's chair on "The Avengers." The "Clash of the Titans" director is familiar with big-budget special effects -- <a href="http://movieline.com/2010/03/23/release-the-release-the-kraken-meme-1/">he released the Kraken</a> -- something that could make him ideal for "Episode VII." Unfortunately for Leterrier, there's not much chance Disney will want the next "Star Wars" film billed as "From the man who brought you 'Unleashed.'" <br clear="all"> <br clear="all"> <strong>ODDS</strong>: 400-1
Disney hired Kosinski to turn "Tron" into a new franchise, and when that didn't work out as planned, the studio attached him to "Oblivion," a sci-fi action film with Tom Cruise. The problem? <a href="http://www.deadline.com/2011/05/tom-cruise-commits-to-100-million-universal-sci-fi-pic-oblivion-for-fall/">The script was PG-13</a>, forcing Disney to pass. (The studio likes family-friendly fare -- unless it's "The Avengers.") Universal picked "Oblivion" up and will release it on April 19, 2013. So! Does that make Kosinski more or less likely to get picked as the choice to direct what many assume will be a kid-friendly "Star Wars" film? The guess here is less. <br clear="all"> <br clear="all"> <strong>ODDS</strong>: 400-1
Steven Spielberg has a past relationship with both George Lucas, Kathleen Kennedy <em>and</em> Disney. Plus, Spielberg did some assistant work on "Episode III." It's a perfect marriage! Except for the fact that Spielberg recently told "60 Minutes" that he was done directing action blockbusters. (Except for "Robopocalypse," an action blockbuster due out in 2014, which probably takes him out of "Episode VII" duty anyway.) <br clear="all"> <br clear="all"> <strong>ODDS</strong>: 350-1 <br clear="all"> <br clear="all"> <strong>UPDATE</strong>: Spileberg has said he's out.
Disney and Tim Burton have a quite a relationship. Unfortunately, in 2012, that relationship has led to box office failures like "Dark Shadows" and "Frankenweenie." On the plus side, a "Star Wars" directed by Tim Burton would include Helena Bonham Carter as some kind of intergalactic senator in a headdress. (Just a guess.) <br clear="all"> <br clear="all"> <strong>ODDS</strong>: 300-1
Ron Howard loves himself a big spectacle, it's just that his next big spectacle might be "The Dark Tower." <br clear="all"> <br clear="all"> <strong>ODDS</strong>: 300-1
Fresh out of the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uncanny_valley">uncanny valley</a>, Robert Zemeckis has made a triumphant return to live action with "Flight." Would Zemeckis -- who worked with Kennedy on the "Back to the Future" franchise" -- want to trek back to blockbuster filmmaking for "Star Wars"? "I'm really tired of making these huge, over $100 million movies where they literally mean life and death for a studio. It's really rough making these expensive movies," <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/28/movies/robert-zemeckis-returns-to-live-action-movies-with-flight.html?pagewanted=all">Zemeckis told the New York Times</a>. "Everyone is hysterical." So, maybe that's a no. <br clear="all"> <br clear="all"> <strong>ODDS</strong>: 300-1
Not that long ago, Patty Jenkins ("Monster") was tapped to direct "Thor 2" for Disney and Marvel. The decision was hailed as forward-thinking, but it didn't last: Jenkins left the project due to creative differences, but as Deadline.com noted, <a href="http://www.deadline.com/2011/12/director-patty-jenkins-exiting-thor-2-sequel/">the split was amicable</a>. File this under: Why not her? <br clear="all"> <br clear="all"> <strong>ODDS</strong>: 200-1
Bird, the Pixar wiz behind "The Incredibles," made a successful transition to live-action films with "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol." He's got Disney connections, geek bona fides <em>and</em> experience with mouthy titles that include colons and dashes! (A "Star Wars" must.) Bird is also working on "1952" with Damon Lindelof, <a href="http://www.vulture.com/2012/10/damon-lindelof-brad-bird-1952.html">meaning his availability might be limited</a>. <br clear="all"> <br clear="all"> <strong>ODDS</strong>: 150-1 <br clear="all"> <br clear="all"> <strong>UPDATE</strong>: Bird has said he's out.
Audiences might not be that familiar with Colin Trevorrow, but if there's one dark horse indie director in the mix (and there usually is; see Marc Webb for "The Amazing Spider-Man") it could be the "Safety Not Guaranteed" director. That film had heart, lo-fi special effects and ingenuity; wouldn't it be nice to see those traits in a modern-era "Star Wars"? <br clear="all"> <br clear="all"> <strong>ODDS</strong>: 125-1 <br clear="all"> <br clear="all"> <strong>UPDATE</strong>: Trevorrow is out.
M. Night Shyamalan
M. Night Shyamalan was once dubbed "the next Spielberg." Would he settle for the next Lucas? <br clear="all"> <br clear="all"> <strong>ODDS</strong>: 75-1
As some critics noted, "John Carter" was the best "Star Wars" prequel George Lucas never made. Disney lost a lot of money on Andrew Stanton's notorious and expensive flop, but they clearly like working with him. Maybe the studio will give him an established brand and let him run wild? <br clear="all"> <br clear="all"> <strong>ODDS</strong>: 50-1
Fun fact: Joe Johnston helped design Boba Fett's armor for "Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back." <a href="http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Joe_Johnston">He also petitioned George Lucas to make a Boba Fett movie</a>. The "Captain America" director has the prior connection and necessary experience to enter into the "Star Wars" universe; will Disney give him a chance? <br clear="all"> <br clear="all"> <strong>ODDS</strong>: 45-1
Jon Favreau and Disney are working on a movie called "Magic Kingdom," about a family caught in the famed Disney theme park. <a href="http://www.craveonline.com/film/articles/192815-pixar-is-helping-with-jon-favreaus-magic-kingdom">Assuming that one stays in development for the next decade</a>, maybe Favreau can sneak in "Episode VII" while he waits? <br clear="all"> <br clear="all"> <strong>ODDS</strong>: 40-1
George Lucas chose Anthony Hemingway to direct "Red Tails," which was hailed for its "Star Wars"-y battle scenes (if little else). Hemingway will come cheap and knows how to work with Lucas, who will still be involved in the making of "Episode VII" -- at least as a consultant. Don't discount their collaborative efforts. <br clear="all"> <br clear="all"> <strong>ODDS</strong>: 35-1
F. Gary Gray
Don't forget: F. Gary Gray ("The Negotiator") was on the short list of directors for the Marvel-Disney production of "Captain America: The Winter Soldier." If the studio liked him enough for that film, could a galaxy far, far away be next? <br clear="all"> <br clear="all"> <strong>ODDS</strong>: 30-1
With Johnny Depp as Chewbacca. <br clear="all"> <br clear="all"> <strong>ODDS</strong>: 20-1
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