Star Wars fans, you might want to sit down for this one — The Walt Disney Company just announced its plans to purchase Lucasfilm Ltd from George Lucas, with plans to release Star Wars: Episode 7 sometime during 2015. The deal is a stock and cash transaction, with Lucas receiving about half of the $4.05 billion value of the deal in cash plus some 40 million stock shares. ""It's now time for me to pass Star Wars on to a new generation of filmmakers," Lucas said in a statement. "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."
The deal will see Disney take control of all of Lucafilm's assets, including the "evergreen" Star Wars franchise and operating businesses in "live action film production, consumer products, animation, visual effects, and audio post production." Kathleen Kennedy, current Co-Chairman of Lucasfilm, will take over as President of the new Lucasfilm division and report to Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn. Lucas himself will stay on as creative consultant for the new Star Wars films, with Kennedy serving as executive producer.