Disney to buy Lucasfilm, “Star Wars” rights for $4 billion

Star WarsWhile Hurricane Sandy and the upcoming US election are the top news stories, Tuesday’s late afternoon announcement managed to trend on Twitter anyway, and for good reason: Disney’s announced that they’ll be buying Lucasfilm for $4 billion from George Lucas (half stocks, half cash). On top of the buyout, Disney says there’ll be another trilogy of films, starting with “Star Wars 7″(!) in 2015. Lucas will serve as a consultant, but otherwise says he’s retiring.

I suppose I have some mixed feelings on this one. On the plus side, Disney has to be an improvement over the utter awfulness of Jar Jar Binks and the three prequels. Disney in charge will also hopefully mean the end of the classic trilogy being sliced-and-diced with unwanted CGI/out-of-place characters for re-releases at the movies. Mickey Mouse’s bosses have also done well maintaining their purchases of Marvel and Pixar, with “The Avengers” as this year’s biggest blockbuster hit.

On the down side, it means yet another batch of unneeded sequels will be coming. There’s also Disney already being quite gargantuan in size as a media conglomerate—not only will they also be adding the “Star Wars” franchise, but lots of other facets owned by Lucas (including special effects company Industrial Lights and Magic). Not that antitrust laws apparently mean much anymore—given Disney’s the same company partly responsible for our ludicrous copyright lengths. Finally, I wonder what’s to become of the “Clone Wars” cartoon, now airing on Cartoon Network and in syndication. Will Disney yank it and move it to the vertical-integration domain of Disney XD? The same question could be asked of the long-running line of Dark Horse Comics; Disney apparently couldn’t move fast enough to yank the Disney comics’ licenses away from Boom! Studios after it bought Marvel.

Either way, it’ll be strange not seeing the 20th Century Fox theme play before the opening of a Star Wars movie… I’ve come to half-expect hearing the “Star Wars” theme play after hearing the Fox fanfare.

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