Disney has long been a media juggernaut. However, in recent years, the company’s made a number of acquisitions that’ve both diversified their IPs and extended their overall reach in the industry. Marvel Entertainment was the first big purchase, which allowed the House of Mouse to add superheroes to their portfolio and reach a broader, and more male audience, which solved a big issue for the corporation.
The second significant acquisition, though, was Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion in 2012. So, in a relatively short period of time, Disney not only had a legion of superheroes on its roster but also near unfettered access to Star Wars. They wasted no time in getting to work, either, which led to The Force Awakens shattering box office records, and a slew of other projects, from comics to games.
Reportedly though, Rupert Murdoch, who was once in charge of the now also-Disney owned 20th Century Fox, was furious about the procurement. According to Disney CEO Bob Iger:
Rupert was crazed that we bought Lucas. They were the distributor of all of George’s movies, and he was very disappointed in his people. “Why didn’t you think of this?”
The move did seem like a no brainer after the fact, and a merger with Fox, at the time, would have had a little more synergy to it, optically speaking. Even so, the announcement did come from left field, as there was no indication prior that George Lucas was looking to sell his company. Given that, there was likely nothing Fox could have done, given the secrecy involved with the sale.
That said, the overall results for Disney’s handling of the Star Wars canon are a little mixed, which has led to a scaling back of sorts, especially following the failure of Solo: A Star Wars Story, which Iger blames on poor timing, saying that it “was a little too much, too fast.”
He quickly followed up on that though, quelling some of the negative rhetoric surrounding the seemingly ever-shifting Star Wars plans and commenting on the future of the series as a whole, stating:
You can expect some slowdown, but that doesn’t mean we’re not gonna make films. J.J. is busy making [Episode] IX. We have creative entities, including [Game of Thrones creators David] Benioff and [D.B.] Weiss, who are developing sagas of their own, which we haven’t been specific about. And we are just at the point where we’re gonna start making decisions about what comes next after J.J.’s. But I think we’re gonna be a little bit more careful about volume and timing. And the buck stops here on that.
All things considered, it’s probably for the best that Mickey and his friends picked up Lucasfilm and Star Wars, as Disney’s been able to utilize the properties they got very efficiently and profitably. Even so, it’s still interesting to ponder what might’ve been. Would TIE fighters have invaded James Cameron’s Pandora? Would X-Men: Days of Future Past have included visions of Yoda mentoring young Padawans? Alas, we’ll never know. Until all the franchises get merged by Disney in a corporate bid to rule the world, sometime in the early 2030s, that is.