George Lucas is ensuring that the force may be with young Jedis everywhere.
The "Star Wars" director will donate the $4.05 billion he will receive from the sale of Lucasfilm Ltd. to Disney to a foundation focused on education, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
On Tuesday, the Walt Disney Company announced it had paid the huge sum to acquire Lucasfilm Ltd., which produced "Star Wars" and is 100 percent owned by George Lucas himself. Disney also announced plans to release a seventh "Star Wars" film, "Star Wars: Episode VII," in 2015.
“For 41 years, the majority of my time and money has been put into the company,” Lucas said in a statement on Wednesday. “As I start a new chapter in my life, it is gratifying that I have the opportunity to devote more time and resources to philanthropy.”
The director has yet to disclose which charity will be the beneficiary of the huge chunk of money. But Lucas currently serves as the chairman of Edutopia, a foundation that empowers innovative coursework in schools. The organization is a likely choice, eonline.com speculates.
Lucas has made other generous donations to show his commitment to education in the past. In a Giving Pledge letter from 2010, he wrote:
“I am dedicating the majority of my wealth to improving education. It is the key to the survival of the human race. We have to plan for our collective future –- and the first step begins with the social, emotional, and intellectual tools we provide to our children. As humans, our greatest tool for survival is our ability to think and to adapt – as educators, storytellers, and communicators our responsibility is to continue to do so.”
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