Star Wars 7 set for 2015 release as Disney buys Lucasfilm

Harrison Ford as Han Solo in Star Wars Episode V: A New Hope
Han-some price: George Lucas sells "Star Wars" for a cool $4.05billion.Lucasfilm

Star Wars Episode VII is set for a 2015 release date after Disney bought George Lucas' Lucasfilm company for $4.05billion (£2.5billion).

George Lucas, who has been championing the Star Wars franchise for 35 years, said: "It's now time for me to pass Star Wars on to a new generation of film-makers."

He will be paid half the total amount in cash and half in stock, equalling around 40 million shares in Disney. He will also serve as creative consultant on future releases.

Disney have announced that following the purchase they plan to release a seventh Star Wars film in 2015, followed by others every two or three years.

Lucas released the original Star Wars in 1977, and the brand has since grown to include the films, TV series, theme park attractions, toys and, famously, "Jar Jar Binks" lunchboxes.

The "prequel" trilogy, released between 1999 and 2005, were all commercial successes despite intense criticism from fans and the media.

Disney CEO Robert A Iger said: "In 2015, we're planning to release Star Wars Episode 7 – the first feature film under the 'Disney-Lucasfilm' brand. That will be followed by Episodes 8 and 9 – and our long term plan is to release a new Star Wars feature film every two to three years."

Lucasfilm Ltd is also the umbrella company for Industrial Light, a visual effects company which has worked on big budget franchises including The Avengers, Harry Potter and Pirates of the Caribbean.

In recent years Disney has invested a lot of money expanding it's operations, buying Pixar studios for $7.4billion in 2006 and Marvel comics for $4.2billion in 2009.

Recent Marvel release The Avengers has since grossed $1.51billion, with several sequels and tie-in films currently in production.

According to Disney, the Star Wars films have earned $4.4billion at the global box office, just slightly more than George Lucas sold the company for.

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