Your Questions Answered: What We Know and Speculate About ‘Star Wars Episode VII’ and Disney’s Purchase of LucasFilm
Posted on Tuesday, October 30th, 2012 by Germain Lussier
The news of Disney purchasing LucasFilm and a new Star Wars trilogy being released creates far more questions than it answers. Yes, in 2015 audiences are finally going to see the Star Wars universe, on the big screen, in a post Return of the Jedi world. It’s an announcement as big as they come in the world of movies. Then take a step back from that. The company that owns Marvel and Pixar now owns Star Wars and Indiana Jones. Immediately the mind begins seeing the possibilites of crossovers, collaboration and pure insanity.
We all have questions in regards to this news and we’ve complied the answers. Some stuff we know for sure, such as “How far into development is Star Wars Episode VII?” and “Will the films have the classic Fox fanfare?” Other we don’t, such as “What does this mean for the live-action Star Wars TV series?” and “Could Pixar make an animated Star Wars movie?”
After the jump, read answers to 15 questions from myself and Russ Fischer, and even get some answers from departing LucasArts chief George Lucas and new leader Kathleen Kennedy.
What We Know:
by Russ Fischer
Will we see More Indiana Jones Films?
In the near future, no. Disney execs were very specific about the fact that Indiana Jones is part of this purchase, but as with some superhero characters when Disney bought Marvel, there is financial “encumbrance” with Indy. Namely, Paramount has a controlling distribution interest in the character, and Disney isn’t going to mess around with that right now. This deal is all about Star Wars, as Disney’s Bob Iger said explicitly. (Remember, too, that Disney essentially took distribution of Marvel movies away from Paramount, so this isn’t the first time the companies have had overlapping interest in a character or franchise.)
Our understanding is that other LucasFilm properties, such as Willow, Red Tails, and Howard the Duck (originally a Marvel character!), are also covered under this deal, but they may have the same issues that Indy does, thanks to controlling interests at other studios.
Will George Lucas be involved in any capacity?
The short answer is “yes,” or at least that he has been involved. Lucas has consulted on the development of Episode VII so far, but he is not spearheading that film. On the conference call, it was said that “it’s his intent to retire,” from which we can extrapolate that someone else will write and (whew!) direct the new film(s). As to the continuing involvement of Lucas in the new film, we have to wait and see. The suggestion is that his involvement will be fairly light.
Who is Kathleen Kennedy, and what has she ever done?
Oh, you know, just someone who has been a producer on small films, such as E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, Back to the Future, and most of Steven Spielberg’s big-screen efforts in the past couple decades. (And many of his small-screen ones.) Kennedy was a co-founder of Amblin Entertainment and a principal of the Kennedy/Marshall Company (with her husband, producer Frank Marshall) through which she worked on many Spielberg productions as well as films such as the first three Bourne movies.Earlier this year, she was named as Co-Chair of LucasFilm and set up to be the ultimate successor to George Lucas at the company he founded. With this deal, that movement will now take place.
(Correction: While Kennedy was at the Kennedy/Marshall Company when the first three Bourne films were made, she did not produce any of them.)
Will the new movies have the classic Fox Fanfare?
They will not. LucasFilm and Fox have long had a sort of picture-to-picture relationship, with Fox most recently acting only as distributor for the Star Wars films, while Lucas funded them himself. Any new film may carry a Fox logo (in the same way that The Avengers had Paramount branding) but the days of live-action Star Wars features opening with the Fox fanfare are done. That said, how this deal will affect the 3D re-release of the existing Star Wars films is unknown.