It appears the Force is stronger than ever.
On Tuesday, Oct. 30, the Walt Disney Company announced that it is purchasing Lucasfilm, Star Wars creator George Lucas' production company, in a deal valued at $4.05 billion.
As part of the deal, Disney plans to release a new Star Wars movie, Episode VII, in 2015, with additional films to follow "every two to three years" after, Disney chairman Bob Iger said in a conference call, adding that there is "an extensive and detailed treatment for the next three movies."
Lucas, for his part, believes Disney's wide reach will give Lucasfilm "the opportunity to blaze new trails" with the space opera franchise in theme parks and TV. (Perhaps a "Luke's Magical Adventure" ride at Disney World?)
"For the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see Star Wars passed from one generation to the next," the 68-year-old director said in a statement. "It’s now time for me to pass Star Wars on to a new generation of filmmakers. 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."
Lucas will still have a hand in future films as a creative consultant, but Kathleen Kennedy will serve as the executive producer of the next installment and president of Lucasfilm. Kennedy is behind such blockbusters as E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial and Jurassic Park.
"We are absolutely going to make Star Wars movies," she said in a video discussing the deal, "and we are in the midst of the really fun part of the process, which is we're sitting down with a couple of writers and we're starting to discuss ideas."
“We have a large group of ideas and characters and books and all kinds of things,” Lucas added. “We could go on making Star Wars for the next 100 years.”
Tell Us: Are you excited about Disney continuing the Star Wars franchise?
For access to all our exclusive celebrity videos and interviews – Subscribe on YouTube!