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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California
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Disney Purchases George Lucas' Production Company

Disney will now own all the rights to Star Wars films in the future. 

The Walt Disney Company announced Tuesday that it has reached a $4.05 billion deal purchase George Lucas' Lucasfilm Ltd. production company. This includes the rights to the "Star Wars" film franchise, which will continue with a seventh movie, titled "Episode 7" expected to release in 2015. The company has also expressed plans to follow up with Episodes 8 and 9 and then one new movie every 2 or 3 years. 

"'Star Wars' is one of the greatest family entertainment franchises of all time," said Disney CEO Robert Iger. "Lucasfilm reflects the extraordinary passion, vision, and storytelling of its founder, George Lucas."

Disney will pay roughly half of the purchase price in cash and issue 40 million shares of stock. Lucasfilm employees are expected to keep their jobs in existing locations. 

Kathleen Kennedy, the co-chair of Lucasfilm, will become president of the company and report to Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn. She will also be the brand manager for "Star Wars" and will executive produce the upcoming "Star Wars" films with Lucas as a creative consultant. 

"For the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see 'Star Wars' passed on from one generation to the next," Lucas said. "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."

Lucasfilm, which is based in San Francisco, also includes the film technology divisions Industrial Light & Magic and Skywalker Sound. Disney's purchase includes these as well as the rights to the "Indiana Jones" franchise. 

This deal brings Lucasfilm under Disney with other brands including Pixar, Marvel, ESPN and ABC. Pixar was a $7.4 billion purchase in 2006 and Disney bought Marvel in 2009 for $4.2 billion. 

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