After announcing the $4.05 billion—yes billion with a “B”—deal to buy Lucasfilm, Disney dropped another bombshell this week by announcing that Star Wars Episode 7 will be released in 2015. George Lucas, who will serve as creative consultant on the project, stated that he material for Star Wars Episodes 7, 8 and 9.
The acquisition is not yet a done deal, since it first must pass a rigorous antitrust inspection. And, since Disney snapped up Pixar and Marvel Entertainment in recent years, it’s not a stretch to imagine an antitrust objection. If the deal proceeds, it is likely Lucasfilm co-chair Kathy Kennedy will serve as executive producer for the Star Wars Episode 7 project. She will also become the Lucasfilm division’s president, reporting to Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn.
The film will be placed chronologically after Return of the Jedi, but Lucasfilm sources aren’t saying how long after. Speculation has already begun regarding whether the original Star Wars actors—including 70-year-old Harrison Ford—will reprise their old roles.
Disney CEO Bob Iger, confirming that Episodes 8 and 9 are in the works, stated that the goal is to release a new Star Wars movie every two years. If all goes according to plan, fans should expect the last two films in the trilogy to be released in 2017 and 2019.
Fans have offered mixed reactions about the buyout. Social media exploded with jokes, lamentations and theories about the future of Star Wars. Vince Mancini of FilmDrunk.com said: “I’d just as soon they let Star Wars die off, like it should have after Episode 1, but let’s face it, there’s no way Disney can do worse with Lucasfilm than Lucasfilm’s already been doing.”