George Lucas’ Sale Of Star Wars Was Even More Secretive Than You Thought

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Summary

  • George Lucas kept the sale of Lucasfilm to Disney a secret, with only five people at Lucasfilm knowing about the deal. The news shocked everyone and resulted in the cancellation of ongoing Star Wars projects.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars abruptly ended when Disney took over, despite plans for eight seasons. The cast and crew were devastated by the cancellation and had to settle for an abbreviated final season in 2020.
  • Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy was aware of the sale, as she had joined the company prior to the acquisition. Lucas retired and appointed Kennedy as head of the company, reporting to Disney CEO Bob Iger.


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George Lucas’ sale of Star Wars shocked the world, but it was also a tightly-kept secret within his own company. Disney officially acquired Lucasfilm on October 30, 2012 for $4.05 billion, ending the Lucas era of Star Wars and ushering in a new generation of storytellers. The sequel trilogy and several spin-off movies were immediately announced, but the changing of the guard resulted in a ripple effect that impacted Star Wars projects already in development.

RELATED: Disney’s Star Wars Canon Recent Has Its Roots In George Lucas’ Final Plan

During a panel at Florida Supercon 2023 via The Popverse, actress Ashley Eckstein shared that only five people working for Lucasfilm knew about Lucas’ plans to sell the company.

“Keep in mind, when Disney bought Star Wars, it was a shock to everyone. Nobody knew. Apparently, there was only five people in the company in all of Lucasfilm that actually knew that Disney was buying Star Wars. It sent ripples through the galaxy, and it was devastating when the show was canceled. It was never our plan.”

Up to the point of the sale, everything was business as usual for Lucasfilm’s employees. Star Wars: The Clone Wars was the most devastating casualty when Disney took over the franchise, bringing the hit series to an abrupt end. While the cast and crew intended to make eight seasons of the show, they settled for an abbreviated final run in 2020 after the initial cancelation.


Who Knew That Lucasfilm Was Being Sold To Disney?

George Lucas and Bob Iger as Disney acquires Lucasfilm in 2012.

The Lucasfilm sale was certainly stunning for fans, and apparently the same can be said for nearly every employee. Now-Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy was absolutely aware of the plan, as she had joined the company six months prior as vice president to work directly with Lucas in developing content. Upon completing the sale, Lucas retired from his position and appointed Kennedy as head of the company, who would report directly to Disney CEO Bob Iger. Any other employees that knew of the change had to be directly involved in the process.

One person who likely didn’t know was The Clone Wars showrunner Dave Filoni; at least, not to the full extent. While it’s improbable that Lucas wouldn’t communicate any of the ongoings with his protégé, sharing word of the sale would’ve hampered Filoni’s creative process. Had Filoni known Disney would be taking over Lucasfilm, plans to conclude The Clone Wars in a more natural manner would then be made to avoid the shocking cancelation. The Disney Star Wars era has been a mixed bag of results, but Filoni’s animation division has continued to thrive.

Source: The Popverse