Disney buying Lucasfilm

Associated Press file photo by Chris Pizzello -- The character Darth Vader accepts the Ultimate Villain award from
Associated Press file photo by Chris Pizzello -- The character Darth Vader accepts the Ultimate Villain award from "Star Wars" creator George Lucas during the 2011 Scream Awards in Los Angeles.

Plans Star Wars "Episode 7" for 2015 release

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Disney is paying $4.05 billion to buy Lucasfilm Ltd., the production company behind “Star Wars,” from its chairman and founder, George Lucas. It’s also making a seventh movie in the “Star Wars” series called “Episode 7,” set for release in 2015, with plans to follow it with Episodes 8 and 9 and then one new movie every two or three years.

The Walt Disney Co. announced the agreement to make the purchase in cash and stock Tuesday.

The deal brings Lucasfilm under the Disney banner with other brands including Pixar, Marvel, ESPN and ABC.

Kathleen Kennedy, the current co-chairman of Lucasfilm, will become its president and report to Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn. Lucas will be creative consultant on new “Star Wars” films.

Lucas said in a statement, “It’s now time for me to pass ‘Star Wars’ on to a new generation of filmmakers.”