When Did Disney Buy Star Wars?

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Disney has expanded the Star Wars franchise in ways that seemed impossible before George Lucas sold the saga he created. Star Wars has had a constant stream of new movies and TV shows which seems to have no end in sight, and the new Disney canon has grown into a massive catalog of books, comics, and video games that continue to expand the franchise in every way imaginable. Fans can travel to the galaxy far, far away for themselves via theme park attractions like the Star Tours ride and even virtual reality. There’s no telling how the Star Wars brand will continue to grow under Disney in the coming decades.


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Understanding when and how Disney bought Star Wars may shed light on the future direction of the franchise. Disney had specific goals in mind when they became intent on purchasing Star Wars, and Lucas had high hopes for the enduring legacy of his creation after he had retired. While the franchise has evolved in ways neither party could imagine, the events that led to Disney buying Star Wars shaped the fate of the saga from then on. The company has continued acquiring new properties and reviving old franchises in the years since, meaning that Disney buying Star Wars helped change the film industry.

Related: New Star Wars Movies: Every Upcoming Movie & Release Date


Disney Bought Star Wars In 2012

The world was taken by storm in 2012 when Disney acquired Lucasfilm and confirmed a 2015 release date for Star Wars Episode 7. Lucas had stated for years that he had no plans to produce a Star Wars sequel trilogy or hand the reins to other filmmakers, but now Disney has purchased the franchise and announced three new Star Wars movies. The announcement brought an equal amount of excitement and uncertainty, as no one had any idea what Disney Star Wars would look like. Either way, Star Wars was back, and this time had the resources of Disney behind it, leaving many wondering how the deal had come to fruition.

Timeline Of Disney’s Lucasfilm Purchase

The Hildebrandt ANH poster mixed with a "The Mandalorian" promo image under a Disney logo

May 2011 – Bob Iger Approaches Lucas During The Reopening Of Star Tours

Bob Iger and Disney Logo

Disney CEO Bob Iger first approached Lucas when the Star Tours ride reopened at Disney World and Disneyland after a year-long refurbishment. Iger arranged a breakfast meeting with Lucas and made a compelling pitch for Disney to buy Star Wars, the beginning of a long process toward the sale. Lucas was understandably conflicted over selling his company, something Iger respected, but after seven months, Lucas arranged a lunch meeting to start putting the deal in motion.

October 30, 2012 – Disney Acquires Lucasfilm

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

After months of negotiations and an audit to determine the value of the Star Wars franchise, Disney agreed to buy Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion. The deal was officially announced on October 30, 2012, with Lucas signing the company to Disney in a press release. It was confirmed that Kathleen Kennedy, a longtime collaborator of Lucas’, would take over as president of Lucasfilm and oversee the development of new Star Wars movies.

Related: The TRUE Disney Star Wars Story (Finally Revealed By The CEO)

December 21, 2012 – Acquisition Is Completed

George Lucas in front of the Star Wars logo.

On December 21, 2012, Disney’s acquisition of Star Wars and Lucasfilm was completed. Both companies immediately got to work on Star Wars Episode 7, announcing J.J. Abrams as the film’s director a few months later. Disney also began developing the first Star Wars spinoff movies and a new animated series set to premiere in 2014. More than a decade later, Disney continues to branch out to new Star Wars projects, ensuring that George Lucas’ creation will reach a new generation of fans.