With John Carter failing to really take off like they thought it would, the Walt Disney Company has announced that, screw it, they're just going to buy up someone else's already-successful CGI space epic. Specifically, they're going to purchase LucasFilm and make some more of those Star Wars everyone likes so much.
The studio today announced the acquisition of LucasFilm Ltd. in exchange for $4.05 billion in cash and stocks. Lucas had earlier this year expressed interest in getting out of the blockbuster business, and it seems he's now doing just that, with LucasFilm co-chair Kathleen Kennedy moving up to the president's seat while the company's founder, in his own words, will "pass Star Wars on to a new generation of filmmakers" who will presumably not try to ruin it so hard.
But, of course, the real smack-your-desk "holy shit" of this story is Disney's accompanying announcement that they don't plan on squandering the fact that episode numbers could exist beyond VI. There aren't many specifics yet, but the studio sure isn't wasting any time on moving forward with another Star Wars sequel: they're trumpeting that they'll get one in theaters by 2015, with Kennedy serving as executive producer and Lucas staying on as merely a creative consultant, someone to turn to if the new director can't think of any racial stereotypes or silly voices for the new CGI aliens.
Though the deal gives Disney control of all the Star Wars characters, as well as their own roster and their Marvel acquisitions, it is not clear if or when Jar Jar, Thor, and Pooh will be made available on a single varsity jean jacket.
UPDATE: the official Star Wars YouTube has posted a brief video in which Lucas explains, among other things, that he's already written the treatments for episodes 7, 8, and 9. Seems we'll be getting a little of ol' George's storytelling finesse after all.