Huge news from Disney, which is under the relatively new steerage of Alan Horn. CNBC was first to report via twitter that Disney has purchased Lucasfilm, paying the same amount for the company that it did for Marvel a few years ago: $4b in cash and stock.

THR quickly confirmed the report, saying that current LucasFilm co-chair Kathleen Kennedy will become president of LucasFilm, as we’ve more or less known would happen. The bigger news is that THR mentions that a new Star Wars film is planned for 2015. Kennedy will be the exec producer of Star Wars: Episode VII and future Star Wars feature films, with George Lucas acting as “creative consultant.”

Read a statement from Lucas after the break.

Here’s what Star Wars and LucasFilm creator George Lucas had to say:

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. 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.

Yahoo Finance reports:

Under the deal, Disney will acquire ownership of Lucasfilm, a leader in entertainment, innovation and technology, including its massively popular and “evergreen” Star Wars franchise and its operating businesses in live action film production, consumer products, animation, visual effects, and audio post production. Disney will also acquire the substantial portfolio of cutting-edge entertainment technologies that have kept audiences enthralled for many years. Lucasfilm, headquartered in San Francisco, operates under the names Lucasfilm Ltd., LucasArts, Industrial Light & Magic, and Skywalker Sound, and the present intent is for Lucasfilm employees to remain in their current locations.

In a conference call, Disney execs discussed the previous success that Disney and LucasFilm have had together, and the idea of bringing together the companies, their stable(s) of characters, and approach to creative content, based in part on the early experience of featuring Star Wars content in Disney theme parks.

Star Wars Episode VII will be released in 2015, and followed by Episodes VIII and IX, with long-term plans including a “new Star Wars film every two to three years.” Those will be part of Disney’s overal eight to ten film per year plan. The Indiana Jones franchise is mentioned in the call, but one “encumbrance” of Indy is the fact that Paramount has released those films, so Disney can’t quickly begin making new films in that franchise.

Star Wars is clearly the focus of Disney’s interest. Use of Star Wars in games, parks, and television mentioned as well, with no specifics. The deal specifically brings the already in-development Episode VII to Disney; which is to say, there’s a good amount of work done on that film already, with plans in place for the next two episodes as well. And one mention in the conference call is that Lucas has consulted on the currently in-development Episode VII, “but it is his intent to retire.”

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