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Lucasfilm Ltd. Now Part of (Unlimited) Disney Enterprises

Lucasfilm Ltd. Disney Darth Vader Princess LeiaLucasfilm Ltd. now part of the Disney Universe

Disney has just gobbled up – for a reported $4.05 billion in cash and stock – Lucasfilm, the George Lucas-owned company behind the Star Wars movie franchise (and Howard the Duck, too). Needless to say, Disney has already announced plans for a seventh Star Wars movie, to be released in 2015. Just as unsurprisingly, there have been no announcements about an upcoming Howard the Duck sequel. (Image: Lucasfilm production Star Wars' Darth Vader, Princess Leia [Carrie Fisher].)

So, why is everyone so shocked that Disney has acquired Lucasfilm?

After all, the Star Wars movies, a throwback to the old Flash Gordon serials, have always been very Disney-like. Oh, but Darth Vader was so mean. Well, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs' Evil Queen and Sleeping Beauty's Maleficent were both meaner and scarier, in my humble opinion. Grumpy was no ray of sunshine, either.

For the record, the six Star Wars movies to date are Star Wars (1977), The Empire Strikes Back (1980), Return of the Jedi (1983), The Phantom Menace (1999), Attack of the Clones (2002), and Revenge of the Sith (2005). Cast members throughout the decades include Mark Hamil (who recently had some choice things to say about Republican U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney), Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, Alec Guinness, Liam Neeson, Peter Cushing, Hayden Christensen, Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, Keira Knightley, Anthony Daniels, Jimmy Smits, and Christopher Lee.

The Disney conglomerate gets bigger and bigger and bigger

Also, let's not forget that back in 2006 Disney swallowed Pixar and three years later bought Marvel Entertainment – also for a reported $4 billion. Disney, in fact, now has more tentacles than the giant octopus in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. In addition to Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm, Disney theme parks, and the Disney Channel, the Disney brand owns ESPN, ABC, A+E Networks, not to mention the company's huge Disney Consumer Products division.

What next for Disney? Perhaps the Lord of the Rings / The Hobbit movies, so we can have more sequels in 2017 and beyond? Or, perhaps they'll acquire Bat-rights from Warner Bros.? Another push for further copyright extensions so they can hold the rights to Mickey and Luke for all eternity? All of the above? Who knows?

Now, the truly Important Question: From now on, will Darth Vader be taking part in Disney's Mickey Mouse Parade?

Star Wars Darth Vader, Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) photo: Lucasfilm / 20th Century Fox.

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