For the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see Star Wars passed from one generation to the next. 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. I’m confident that with Lucasfilm under the leadership of Kathleen Kennedy, and having a new home within the Disney organization, Star Wars will certainly live on and flourish for many generations to come. Disney’s reach and experience give Lucasfilm the opportunity to blaze new trails in film, television, interactive media, theme parks, live entertainment, and consumer products....and it appears that he will still be somewhat involved with new projects:
Kathleen Kennedy, current co-chair of Lucasfilm, will become its president, reporting to Walt Disney Studios chair Alan Horn. Disney is paying about half the purchase price in cash and will issue 40 million shares of stock, the company said in a statement Tuesday.My emphasis.
Kennedy will serve as executive producer on new Star Wars features, with the franchise's creator and Lucasfilm founder George Lucas, 68, serving as creative consultant. There are plans to release a new Star Wars film every two or three years.
With this deal, Disney gets ownership of Lucasfilm, LucasArts, Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), and Skywalker Sound. That's a whole LOT of movie- and game-making magic, right there.
Slashfilm has a great 'what we know/speculate' piece up -- that includes some awesome fan-art (see: Pixar Wars).
Within the /film post, there is some interesting speculation about the plot/characters for Episode VII (and beyond):
[P]opular discussion has always assumed these films would take place a few decades later to continue the overall story. The universe is finally recovering from the rule of the Empire, the Jedi have returned, and the main characters have passed along what they learned. Luke is now more like Obi-Wan, Han is now more of a leader, etc. And to truly complete the circle of the prequels, the droids would have to be in it. Don’t forget, most of the principal actors are still alive, too, so never say never on them reprising the roles. Also, it’s important to remember that the rise and fall of Darth Vader was the throughline for Episodes I-VI, so the story has to feature some of that.A good thought.
My hunch is that, despite the protestations of many a Star Wars fan/nerd, the "takeover" by Disney will not really make a difference in the quality of the final films. After all, Disney bought Marvel in 2009 and has cranked out some pretty good comic book flicks since then. Bottom line: Disney's purchase is not the end of the galaxy.
Plus, George Lucas had complete control of the prequel Star Wars films (Eps. I, II, and II), and we all know how they turned out. Yikes.