Fans of Star Wars, you're not going to like this. The Walt Disney Company have agreed to purchase Lucasfilm Ltd from George Lucas, and announced their intentions to release Star Wars: Episode 7 in 2015.
The deal consists of $4.05 billion (of which George will receive half) and 40 million stock shares. Disney will then hold full control of Lucasfilm's assets, including the massively popular and "evergreen" Star Wars franchise and its operating businesses in live action film production, consumer products, animation (LucasArts), visual effects (Industrial Light & Magic), and audio post production.
"It's now time for me to pass Star Wars on to a new generation of filmmakers," Lucas commented in a statement. "I've always believed that Star Wars could live beyond me, and I thought it was important to set up the transition during my lifetime."
Disney intend to release a new film every two to three years (beyond the planned episodes 7, 8 and 9).
George Lucas will serve as creative consultant on Star Wars Episode 7, with more feature films expected to continue the Star Wars saga and grow the franchise well into the future.
UPDATE: Disney have confirmed a long-term plan surrounding Star Wars in their live conference call. They intend to release a new film every two to three years (beyond the planned episodes 7, 8 and 9), involve the franchise in its gaming & television businesses, and bring it to their theme parks.
Source: The Walt Disney Company