For a long time, the only thing holding Disney back from complete world domination was the fact that none of its properties—no matter how hard they tried—appealed to the weirdly all-important demographic of adolescent males. With their acquisition of Marvel a few years ago, Disney made a massive stride in getting around that obstacle (hello, Avengers), and now they've gone for the big one: Star Wars. And Indiana Jones. Disney's buying Lucasfilm for no less than FOUR BILLION DOLLARS, and here's a picture of George Lucas looking vaguely bewildered as he signs away his life's work.
The most unexpected part of this is what Jay Rasulo, Senior Executive Vice President and CFO for Disney, says in the press release:
We plan to release the first new Star Wars film in 2015, and then plan to release one film every two to three years... We also expect to utilize Star Wars in other businesses including Parks & Resorts, in games and in our television business.
Despite not-quite-reliable evidence of Lucas possibly having nine films planned for Star Wars (or who the hell knows, maybe 12), he's long insisted that after he finished the much-beloved prequels, he'd be done with Star Wars feature films. Nobody quite believed it—they make so much money—but I don't think anybody expected another one as soon as 2015.
Locally, there could be some pretty big fallout from this: Since 1991, licensed Star Wars comics have been one of the cornerstones of local publisher Dark Horse Comics. As the Beat notes, Disney's acquisition could mean that "Disney will pull the Star Wars license back in when Dark Horse’s contract expires." That'd bring Star Wars comics back to Marvel, where they were published from 1977 to 1986—a move that would have massive repercussions for Dark Horse. When I asked Dark Horse about all this, here's what Dark Horse President Mike Richardson had to say:
Dark Horse and Lucasfilm have a strong partnership which spans over 20 years, and has produced multiple characters and story lines which are now part of the Star Wars lore. Star Wars will be with us for the near future. Obviously, this deal changes the landscape, so we'll all have to see what it means for the future.
Definitely a changing landscape—especially considering that Northlanders and DMZ writer Brian Wood's upcoming Star Wars series for Dark Horse looks incredibly promising. As far as massive mergers of media groups, the Lucasfilm/Disney thing is interesting. And as far as new Star Wars movies go, they'll give me something else to geek out over, they'll give cranky fanboys everywhere more stuff to whine about, and they'll definitely make Hollywood and movie theater owners happy. But right now, I'm most interested in how all of this could affect Dark Horse—along with all of the local writers and editors who've worked on the company's Star Wars books for so many years.