It's a big day if you're a Star Wars fan! Disney made the announcement today that they've acquired George Lucas' Lucasfilm LTD and will be getting started expanding the Star Wars franchise with three new movies. That in itself is exciting news, whether or not you're optimistic about the prospect of more Star Wars. But what else does this mean for Star Wars and Disney? Those familiar with some of Disney's theme parks around the world, including Walt Disney World in Florida know that Star Wars already has a presence there, with the "Star Tours" Star Wars attraction at Disney's Hollywood Studios, not to mention the annual Star Wars Weekends that take place in the spring. With Disney now acquiring Lucasfilm, we could be seeing even more Star Wars in Disney's theme parks.



Right now, the announced Star Wars sequels are the hot topic with regards to this Lucasfilm acquisition for Disney. However, those of us who geek out as much for Disney World (or one of the other Disney parks around the world) as we do Star Wars are likely wondering if this news means we'll be able to see Disney and Star Wars' worlds collide even further in the parks. We haven't heard any specific plans yet, but the theme park topic has come up already.

Disney Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger said on a conference call that there would be "ample opportunity to expand the influence of these properties in our parks."

Theme parks got a mention in the lengthy announcement Disney released:
The acquisition combines two highly compatible family entertainment brands, and strengthens the long-standing beneficial relationship between them that already includes successful integration of Star Wars content into Disney theme parks in Anaheim, Orlando, Paris and Tokyo.

Driven by a tremendously talented creative team, Lucasfilm's legendary Star Wars franchise has flourished for more than 35 years, and offers a virtually limitless universe of characters and stories to drive continued feature film releases and franchise growth over the long term. Star Wars resonates with consumers around the world and creates extensive opportunities for Disney to deliver the content across its diverse portfolio of businesses including movies, television, consumer products, games and theme parks.

Again, we're getting no specifics there, but theme parks are mentioned among the "extensive opportunities" Disney will have to bring more content to the fans.
George Lucas mentions theme parks when he spoke of Disney's reach.
"For the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see Star Wars passed from one generation to the next," said George Lucas, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Lucasfilm. "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."

Lucas mentions the parks again in this video, which has him chatting with current Co-Chairman of Lucasfilm Kathleen Kennedy, who, according to Disney's announcement, will become the President of Lucasfilm.



"Between the parks and all the things they've got going, it's great that we have a chance, probably, to expand that. There are lots and lots of opportunities at Disney that we wouldn't have at any other studio."

Again, no specifics are mentioned, but the fact that theme parks have been brought up numerous times during the talk of these two brands coming together is promising. At the very least, they recognize the opportunities. Disney World's current Star Wars presence and the popularity of their Star Wars Weekends should (hopefully) tell them that the interest and the enthusiasm is already there.

I'd love to think that the parks' Imagineers are already cooking up new Star Wars attractions and that plans are in the works to expand their Star Wars presence at one or more of the theme parks. While that may be wishful thinking for now, the acquisition has my heart making a geeky wish that we'll hear word of actual plans at some point in the (near) future.

In the meantime, there's more Star Wars on the way!
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