Disney buys Lucasfilm, plans to release ‘Star Wars: Episode 7’ in 2015

Star Wars fans, you might want to sit down for this one — The Walt Disney Company just announced its plans to purchase Lucasfilm Ltd from George Lucas, with plans to releaseStar Wars: Episode 7 sometime during 2015. While there aren’t any release dates yet for Episodes 8 and 9, those films will be coming as well — and the studio has even more beyond a new trilogy planned for the future. The deal is a stock and cash transaction, with Lucas receiving about half of the $4.05 billion value of the deal in cash plus some 40 million stock shares. “”It’s now time for me to pass Star Wars on to a new generation of filmmakers,” Lucas said in a statement. “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.”

DISNEY PLANS TO RELEASE A NEW STAR WARS FILM EVERY TWO TO THREE YEARS

The deal will see Disney take control of all of Lucafilm’s assets, including the “evergreen”Star Wars franchise, the Indiana Jones franchise, and operating businesses in “live action film production, consumer products, animation, visual effects, and audio post production.” Kathleen Kennedy, current Co-Chairman of Lucasfilm, will take over as President of the new Lucasfilm division and report to Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn. Lucas himself will stay on as creative consultant for the new Star Wars films, with Kennedy serving as executive producer. While it’s too soon to tell exactly what this will mean for the future of the Star Wars franchise (aside from more movies, at least), we’ll be on Disney’s conference call with investors at 4:30pm ET to see if we learn anything else.

Update: We’re listening in to Disney’s conference call right now, and Disney just confirmed that Industrial Light & Magic and Skywalker Sound are included in the transaction. It also confirmed a long-term plan of releasing a new feature Star Wars film every two to three years — beyond the planned Episodes 7, 8, and 9. Disney also confirmed some other plans for the franchise, including placement in its gaming and television business as well as its parks and resorts business. It sounds like we can look forward to more Star Tours, new Star Wars video games, and even more non-film tie-in products.

During the Q&A, Disney said that they were purchasing an “extensive and detailed” treatment for the next film trilogy, so Disney won’t be starting from scratch. It also said the movies were in the “early stage development” at the moment, and noted that it hopes to have Episodes 8 and 9 released “every other year” — so 2017 and 2019 are the current target dates.

Happy 25th Birthday, Zac Efron!

We’ve come a very long way since High School Musical.

The young man at the center of that Disney Channel favorite is now all grown up, as Zac Efron celebrates his 25th birthday today.

An outspoken advocate of gay marriage, Efron has moved on from singing in the hallway to dancing outside with Nicole Kidman. In his underwear!

Watch The Paperboy trailer below to see what we mean.. Happy Birthday Zac!

Selena Gomez Making “Wizards of Waverly Place” Movie

Selena GomezSelena Gomez is adding the title of executive producer to her resume.

Justin Bieber’s gal is reuniting with herWizards of Waverly Place pals for a one-off reunion special, which will air on Disney early next year.

The 20-year-old actress-singer will star in the movie while also doing producing work behind the camera.

“I think she’ll be great because she’s great at seeing the whole picture,” Gomez’s Wizardsmom Maria Canals-Barrera told us at last night’s Los Angeles premiere of Batman Liveabout Gomez producing the flick. “She’s not just focused on her part. She’s the kind of actor that can see the whole story.

“I think she’ll take it seriously like she does,” she continued. “I think it’s going to be great, I really do. I’m very excited about it.”

The movie special, which will follow Gomez’s Wizards fam on a trip to Tuscany, is set to start production next month in L.A. Costars Jake T. AustinJennifer StoneDavid DeLuise and Gregg Sulkin will also return.

Canals-Barrera says she’s most looking forward to getting to reunite with Gomez for the flick.

“She’s so sweet and talented and easy to work with,” she gushed. “She’s so good that whatever stuff we’d have to do together, it was so satisfying because she’s so good. She’s so talented.”