A fantastic telling of the courtship between Disney and Lucasfilm over on Bloomberg:
… At first Lucas wouldn’t even turn over his rough sketches of the next three Star Wars films. When Disney executives asked to see them, he assured them they would be great and said they should just trust him. “Ultimately you have to say, ‘Look, I know what I’m doing. Buying my stories is part of what the deal is.’ I’ve worked at this for 40 years, and I’ve been pretty successful,” Lucas says. “I mean, I could have said, ‘Fine, well, I’ll just sell the company to somebody else.’ ”
Once Lucas got assurances from Disney in writing about the broad outlines of the deal, he agreed to turn over the treatments—but insisted they could only be read by Iger, Horn, and Kevin Mayer, Disney’s executive vice president for corporate strategy. “We promised,” says Iger. “We had to sign an agreement.” …
It was interesting to read that Lucas had actually restarted work on episodes 7, 8, and 9 in early 2012 hiring writers and going as far as contacting Mark Hamill, Carrie Fischer, and Harrison Ford about reprising their roles. He didn’t call Iger until June 2012 to start a discussion.
Another little nugget from this is that Lucasfilm actually has its own animation division, currently led by newly crowed Oscar winner Brenda Chapman. What happens to this group remains to be seen, but I imagine it would be odd for Chapman to go back and work under Lasseter who removed her as Director from Brave.
Oh yeah, Star Wars Weekends is coming up starting May 17th. It’s the first one since the acquisition. Hopefully they’ve had some time to make adjustments and give the fans some amazing opportunities to see inside the existing and future plans for the universe.
So ready or not, Star Wars Episode 7 is coming soon and, while Lucasfilm remains in charge of the production, Disney ultimately has a lot more say and a lot more to gain (or lose) from the resulting box office and toy sales.
If you were in Las Vegas would you be betting for or against the success of this deal?