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Today's blockbuster news that Disney has acquired Lucasilm continues to get bigger. Not only is the studio planning a new Star Wars film for 2015, but that's only going to be the very beginning. Disney plans to release a new Star Wars movie every two years in the future, said Disney chair Bob Iger in a conference call with investors today. The 2015 Star Wars: Episode VII will be followed by an eighth and ninth film in the franchise, completing a nine-film series that George Lucas had hinted at for years now.
The new Star Wars due for 2015 will come out the same year as Marvel's The Avengers 2, which ought to make it an enormous year for Disney. There's less detail on the two other films to round out the trilogy; in the conference call Iger said there is a "lengthy treatment" for the first film, and they are in "early stage development," which means they'll be moving fairly fast to get a movie as big as Star Wars off the ground in less than three years.
The conference call is ongoing as we write this, so there are still more details to come. Lucas will be on board at Disney as a creative consultant, though given his expressed plans for retirement, it seems unlikely that he will have a day-to-day role in the new films, or that he would direct them as he did the three prequels released in 1999, 2002 and 2005. More information on this merger, plans for Star Wars, dream directors to take over the franchise and much, much more to come as we assemble all of the details. In the meantime, here's Lucas's official statement on the merger, as he hands over the reins of president of Lucasfilm to longtime collaborator Kathleen Kennedy:
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.