The lobby of Lucasfilm’s headquarters in the Presidio is tastefully decorated with Craftsman-style lamps and leather chairs. There’s a statue of special effects pioneer Willis O’Brien posing with King Kong in the back, and a full-size R2-D2 up front.
Mickey Mouse is nowhere to be found.
In the five years since Walt Disney Co. purchased Lucasfilm from founder George Lucas for $4.1 billion, the world’s largest entertainment company has followed a familiar script. As with earlier acquisitions of digital pioneer Pixar and cable sports giant ESPN, Lucasfilm has been allowed to retain its iconoclastic character while benefiting from the new owner’s largesse.
After some fallow years near the end of Lucas’ reign, Lucasfilm is now buried under a blizzard of projects. These include two Star Wars Lands under construction at theme parks in California and Florida; a Star Wars TV show for Disney’s new subscription television service launching in 2019, and, of course, the movies, including “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” which will open Dec. 15. Those films, which have reinvigorated the franchise and brought in billions of dollars, succeeded under the watch of Lucasfilm’s boss, Kathleen Kennedy.
The tale won’t end anytime soon. Disney CEO Bob Iger announced Nov. 9 that the company was making a fourth trilogy of the Star Wars saga. Add those three to the four films already in the works, and fans can count on seeing big-screen intergalactic warfare well into the next decade.
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