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
How far into development is Episode VII?
What was specifically stated in the conference call with Disney this afternoon is “what we’re buying… is a pretty extensive & detailed treatment for the next three movies.” Lucas says “I have story treatments for [Star Wars] seven, eight, and nine, and and a bunch of other movies, and obviously we have hundreds of books and comics.”
Development of Episode VII is well along, though we can’t say precisely what has been done. We can speculate a lot, and guess that Kennedy will want to start hiring talent to take the film through the next stages of development very quickly, but I’ll refrain from that here. And, in fact, there could already be people on board and under death-threat NDAs. Recall that Warner Bros. had a Justice League script brewing for a year that went unreported until the studio was ready for word to get out.
Will Industrial Light & Magic be exclusive to Disney now?
All LucasFilm properties are part of this deal, but ILM will continue to operate as it has for years. The company will do effects work for Disney films (as it has in the past) but that won’t be an exclusive deal. Here’s what Jay Resulo, senior executive vice president and CFO of The Walt Disney Company, had to say about the acquisition:
In this transaction we will acquire rights to the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises, a highly talented and expert team, Lucasfilm’s best-in-class post production businesses, Industrial Light and Magic and Skywalker Sound, and a suite of cutting edge entertainment technologies. Our valuation focused almost entirely on the financial potential of the Star Wars franchise, which we expect to provide us with a stream of storytelling opportunities for years to come delivered via all relevant platforms on a global basis.
Does the deal include LucasArts, George Lucas’ video game division?
Yes, it does, as suggested by Rasulo’s comments, and comments from Bob Iger of Disney. And in the conference call, specific mention was made of creating Star Wars product in games. But LucasArts has struggled in the past, and you should expect to see more mobile efforts than anything else, at least at first. Don’t expect a big rush of new console games just yet. Bob Iger said,
We’re likely to focus more on social and mobile than we are on console. We’ll look opportunistically at console, most likely in licensing rather than publishing, but we think that given the nature of these characters and how well known they are, and the storytelling, that they lend themselves quite nicely, as they’ve already demonstrated to the other platforms.
A LucasArts rep did tell Polygon that the game Star Wars 1313 is still a go:
For the time being all projects are business as usual. We are excited about all the possibilities that Disney brings.
A related question, to which we don’t know the answer, is how this will effect the availability of past LucasArts titles, including classics like Grim Fandango, Maniac Mansion, and the Monkey Island series. Moreover, can we expect to see those games becoming fodder for film or TV adaptations? That’s something we don’t know the answer to. But a Wreck-It-Ralph sequel might bring a couple of those characters to the screen…
For a few more answers, here’s a video featuring George Lucas and Kathleen Kennedy discussing the deal.