Disney to make new Star Wars movies

Disney is to release a new 'Star Wars' film in 2015 after buying the rights to franchise and Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion (£2.52 billion)

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Star Wars creator George Lucas

Star Wars creator George Lucas

Disney is to make a new series of 'Star Wars' films after agreeing a deal to buy Lucasfilm from its founder George Lucas.

The entertainment multinational - which already owns Pixar, Marvel, ESPN and ABC - has announced it is paying $4.05 billion (£2.52 billion) for the production company and has confirmed it is to make 'Star Wars Episode VII', with a 2015 release date scheduled.

Lucas - who created the fictional 'Star Wars' universe which began with the first film, 'Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope', in 1977 - will become the second-largest individual holder of Disney shares, with a 2.2 per cent stake, and will be the creative consultant on the new films.

The 68-year-old filmmaker made the decision to sell Lucasfilm because he felt it was time to retire from the day-to-day running of the company and he wants the 'Star Wars' franchise - which comprises of six movies and spin-off cartoons - to continue after his death.

In a statement, he said: "For the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see 'Star Wars' passed from one generation to the next.

"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."

Disney's chief executive Bob Iger is delighted with deal and believes the company can make films worthy of the series' legacy.

Iger said: "The last 'Star Wars' movie release was 2005's 'Revenge of the Sith', and we believe there's substantial pent-up demand. 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."

The deal also includes the rights to the Indiana Jones franchise - in which Harrison Ford plays the daredevil archaeologist - however Disney did not reveal any plans to revive the series at this time.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

  • 2016
  • US
  • Directed by: Gareth Edwards
  • Cast: Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Riz Ahmed, Ben Mendelsohn, Donnie Yen, Jiang Wen, Forest Whitaker, Mads Mikkelsen, Alan Tudyk, Jonathan Aris
  • UK release: 16 December 2016

The first in a series of Star Wars spin-offs. This one focuses on the Rebels' mission to retrieve plans for the dreaded Death Star.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

  • 5 stars
  • 2015
  • US
  • 136 min
  • 12A
  • Directed by: JJ Abrams
  • Written by: Lawrence Kasdan, J.J. Abrams, Michael Arndt
  • Cast: John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Max von Sydow, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, Kenny Baker
  • UK release: 17 December 2015

From the ashes of the Empire, the villainous First Order rises up to destroy Luke Skywalker (Hamill) – but where is he? Fans can rejoice: Episode VII is sensational and surprisingly emotional, with a finely-crafted script and effects that never overpower the performances. Star Wars is back in a big way.

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