Thursday, 14 March 2013

Ford, Fisher, Hamill on for Star Wars

Since Walt Disney Pictures' acquisition of Lucasfilm last October, George Lucas has not only got engaged to Chicago money manager Mellody Hobson, but he has also been attending regular story meetings for the new Star Wars series. Predominantly adjudicating the physical laws and attributes of the Star Wars universe he created. "I mostly say, 'You can't do this. You can do that,' " Said Lucas. "You know, 'The cars don’t have wheels. They fly with anti gravity.' There’s a million little pieces. Or I can say, 'He doesn't have the power to do that, or he has to do this.' I know all that stuff."





Asked whether members of the original Star Wars cast will appear in Episode VII and if he called them before the deal closed to keep them informed, Lucas says, "We had already signed Mark and Carrie and Harrison – or we were pretty much in final stages of negotiation. So I called them to say, 'Look, this is what's going on.' " He pauses. "Maybe I'm not supposed to say that. I think they want to announce that with some big whoop-de-do, but we were negotiating with them." Then he adds: "I won't say whether the negotiations were successful or not."

Walt Disney CEO Bob Iger has been busy readying the machinery that will crank out Star Wars related toys and theme park attractions and whatever Disney deems as appropriate franchise exploitation. As well as looking towards expanding sales of Star Wars merchandise overseas, he is also overseeing discussions between ABC and Lucasfilm over the possibility of a live action TV series. Something which Lucasfilm has been developing since 2005. At the same time, Iger says he doesn't want to do anything that might detract from the upcoming movies. "I don't want to over commercialize or over hype this," he says. "It's my job to prevent that."

The Lucasfilm acquisition could also turn out to be Iger's last big move at Disney. He currently plans to step down as CEO in 2015, although he'll remain as chairman for another year. Merrill Lynch's Cohen doesn't expect Disney will do any large deals between now and then. "I think it's going to be a period of reaping the benefits of the deals Bob has already done," she says.

Iger seems to be doing just that. There's a table in his office decorated with Disney artifacts, including two light sabers. "People have been sending me lots of these," he chuckles. He picks one up and waves it at an imaginary foe. "I'm getting better at this."

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