Six years after buying Lucasfilm, Disney has recouped its investment

Business


The groundwork was laid by George Lucas, the filmmaker and mastermind behind the Star Wars universe. He created Lucasfilm in 1971, which acted as a production company and a visual effects and animation studio. In its more than 50-year history, Lucasfilm would produce iconic films like “Indiana Jones,” “Labyrinth” and “Willow,” as well as a fresh “Star Wars” trilogy in the early 2000s.

Lucasfilm still holds the rights to Indiana Jones. Although a fifth film in that franchises has been teased by the company, it is unclear when that will come to fruition. Current expectations have a film hitting theaters in 2021.

When it was time again to revisit the Star Wars universe, Lucas hired Kathleen Kennedy, an industry veteran who had long worked with Steven Spielberg and with the special effects team at Lucasfilm. Kennedy would become the head of Lucasfilm after it was sold to Disney.

While a recent box office stumble by “Solo” has forced the company to reevaluate and even shelve a number of projects including a stand-alone Obi-Wan Kenobi film and a Boba Fett film, under Kennedy’s leadership, Lucasfilm has blossomed.

The yet untitled Star Wars: Episode IX is due out in December 2019, and two separate trilogies are under development, one by “The Last Jedi” director Rian Johnson and another by “Game of Thrones” show runners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss.

Lucasfilm has also created two animated shows. “Star Wars: Forces of Destiny” is a webseries that is released through Lucasfilm Animation on Disney’s YouTube channel that focuses on the female characters in the “Star Wars” universe while “Star Wars Resistance” is a series that airs on the Disney Channel and is set in the era of the most recent “Star Wars” trilogy.

Kennedy’s contract was renewed by Disney in late September, meaning she will remain the head of Lucasfilm for at least the next three years.

Shares of Walt Disney are up 15.6 percent since last year and more than 127 percent since Disney purchased Lucasfilm six years ago today.



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