Disney announces 'Star Wars' film spinoffs

Fans are going to have to be patient. These movies are years away from the silver screen.

By Jonathan Berr Feb 7, 2013 2:53PM
Disney (DIS) shares have recently gone into hyperspace after the company announced plans for new "Star Wars" films. Wannabe Jedi Knights, though, need to be patient.

While the world's largest entertainment company expects to release J.J. Abrams' "Star Wars: Episode VII" in 2015, the Force is not as strong with two other films that Disney CEO Robert Iger has said are in the works. According to Deadline.com, many questions remain about these pictures, such as when the films will debut and what they will be about.
"Right now, people are just kicking around ideas," the website quotes an anonymous source as saying. "Which is why you hear it’s Yoda one day and a young Han Solo another. It’s all in early development right now."

Lawrence Kasdan, writer of "The Empire Strikes Back" and "Return of the Jedi," is working on one of the films. Simon Kinberg, whose credits include the "X-Men" movies and "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter," is involved with the other one. During an earnings conference call Tuesday, Iger described these pictures as "standalone films that are not part of the 'Star Wars' saga."   He wasn't more specific.Credit: STAR WARS: EPISODE V - THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, Yoda, 1980 
Caption: Lucasfilms / courtesy Everett Collection

"Star Wars" films aren't going to be cheap to produce. According to Box Office Mojo, the latest films in the franchise each had production budgets that topped $100 million. That's pretty pricey, even for a gigantic company like Disney. People also forget that some of the newer films haven't been fan favorites.

The House that Mickey Built acquired Lucasfilm, the production company founded by "Star Wars" creator George Lucas, for $4 billion last year. Box Office Mojo figures show these films have grossed $1.9 billion -- and that doesn't factor in home video and merchandise sales. The franchise is the second-most lucrative in the history of Hollywood behind the "Harry Potter" movies.
Shares of Disney, which also owns the ABC television network along with iconic theme parks in California and Florida, have surged more than 9.5% since the start of the year.

--Jonathan Berr does not own shares of the listed stocks. Follow him on Twitter @jdberr

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