|The Walt Disney Company|
- "For the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see Star Wars passed from one generation to the next. It's now time for me to pass Star Wars on to a new generation of filmmakers. 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. I'm confident that with Lucasfilm under the leadership of Kathleen Kennedy, and having a new home within the Disney organization, Star Wars will certainly live on and flourish for many generations to come. Disney's reach and experience gives Lucasfilm the opportunity to blaze new trails in film, television, interactive media, theme parks, live entertainment, and consumer products."
- ―Star Wars creator George Lucas, upon Disney's acquisition of Lucasfilm
The Walt Disney Company, also known as Disney Enterprises, Inc. or simply Disney, is the largest media and entertainment conglomerate in the world and the current owner of the Star Wars franchise.
Founded on October 16, 1923 by brothers Walt Disney and Roy Disney as the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio, the company was reincorporated as Walt Disney Productions in 1929. Walt Disney Productions established itself as a leader in the American animation industry before diversifying into live-action film production, television, and travel. Taking on its current name in 1986, The Walt Disney Company expanded its existing operations and also started divisions focused upon theater, radio, publishing, and online media. In addition, it has created new divisions of the company in order to market more mature content than it typically associates with its flagship family-oriented brands.
The company is best known for the products of its film studio, the Walt Disney Motion Pictures Group, today one of the largest and best-known studios in Hollywood. Disney also owns and operates the ABC broadcast television network; cable television networks such as Disney Channel, ESPN, and ABC Family; publishing, merchandising, and theater divisions; and owns and licenses eleven theme parks around the world. The company has been a component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average since May 6, 1991. An early and well-known cartoon creation of the company, Mickey Mouse, is the official mascot of The Walt Disney Company.
On October 30, 2012, Disney announced that it had agreed to purchase Lucasfilm Ltd. for $4.05 billion from George Lucas and revealed its plans to release Star Wars Episode VII in 2015, followed by Episodes VIII and IX. Lucas did this because his three adoptive children did not wish to take over Lucasfilm, and so that he would have enough time to evade tax penalties that were enacted in 2013.
Company divisions and subsidiariesEdit
The Walt Disney Company operates as five primary units and segments: The Walt Disney Studios, which includes the company's film, recording label, and theatrical divisions; Parks and Resorts, featuring the company's theme parks, cruise line, and other travel-related assets; Disney Consumer Products, which produces toys, clothing, and other merchandising based upon Disney-owned properties; Media Networks, which includes the company's television properties; and Disney Interactive, which includes Disney's Internet, mobile, social media, virtual worlds, and computer games operations.
Its main entertainment features and holdings include Walt Disney Studios, Disney Music Group, Disney Theatrical Group, Disney-ABC Television Group, Radio Disney, ESPN Inc., Disney Interactive Media Group, Disney Consumer Products, Disney India Ltd., The Muppets Studio, Pixar Animation Studios, Marvel Entertainment, UTV Software Communications, and Lucasfilm.
Its resorts and diversified holdings include Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World Resort, Tokyo Disney Resort, Disneyland Paris, Euro Disney S.C.A., Hong Kong Disneyland Resort, Disney Vacation Club and Disney Cruise Line.
Disney Media NetworksEdit
Disney Media Networks is a reporting segment and primary unit of The Walt Disney Company that contains the company's various television networks, cable channels, associated production and distribution companies and owned and operated television stations. Media Networks also manages Disney's interest in its joint venture with Hearst Corporation, A+E Networks and ESPN Inc..
Disney Press is a book publishing company that oversees the duties of publishing children's books for a variety of Disney products. In August 2014, they will publish a variety of content such as early reader books and sticker books for Star Wars Rebels.
Walt Disney Studios Motion PicturesEdit
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures is the theatrical film distribution subsidiary of Disney. The division handles marketing and distribution for all theatrical releases from every Disney studio, including Lucasfilm. The division will distribute all future Star Wars films worldwide, beginning with Star Wars Episode VII.
Disney Interactive is the video game development wing of the Walt Disney Company and oversees the production and development of any Star Wars games outside of the ten-year Electronic Arts video game development contract. In the contract, it states that Electronic Arts will be the primary developer of Star Wars games, launching them on a variety of console and PC platforms. Disney Interactive will be developing mobile, social, and online video games. Currently, Disney Interactive has been involved in variety of Star Wars games including Club Penguin Star Wars Takeover, and Star Wars: Tiny Death Star.
Marvel Entertainment is a comic book, film, and television subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company. Acquired by Disney in 2009, Marvel is one of the biggest comic book producers, and will take over publishing rights from Dark Horse Comics in 2015. Marvel previously worked with Lucasfilm to produce the first Star Wars comic series. Marvel is additionally known for their highly successful Cinematic Universe in which movies based on their most famous superhero characters form a "shared universe" of narrative storytelling.
Links to Star WarsEdit
Theme park attractionsEdit
Star Tours, a Star Wars themed motion simulator ride developed by Lucasfilm and Disney, opened at Disneyland in California in 1987. The ride later opened at Disney-MGM Studios (now Disney's Hollywood Studios) in Florida, Tokyo Disneyland in Japan, and Disneyland Park in Paris. The ride was superseded in 2011 by Star Tours: The Adventures Continue, an all-new version of the ride.
Disney's Hollywood Studios has played host to Star Wars Weekends once a year, since the summer of 2000. The event includes appearances by actors involved in the Star Wars films and animated series and a number of events.
Disney's Hollywood Studios and Disneyland in California also feature a Jedi Training Academy attraction at which a Jedi instructor teaches "younglings" lightsaber techniques to utilize in battle against either Darth Maul or Darth Vader. In both parks, this show is held near the Star Tours ride.
In conjunction with Star Tours and Star Wars Weekends, a number of Star Wars toys have been developed for and released exclusively at Disney theme parks. This Hasbro toy line included a collection of action figures based on the characters seen in the Star Tours attraction, as well as previously released toys in new packaging. Other toys include figures of Disney characters dressed as Star Wars characters.
In 2005, the toy line included a set that featured a Yoda action figure alongside a figure of Mickey Mouse dressed as a Jedi Knight (aka "Jedi Mickey"), with his trademark gloves and yellow clothes under the robes. According to the text on the package, "Mickey takes up his lightsaber and joins forces with the other Jedi Knights in their battles to fight evil," suggesting that Mickey is a Jedi Knight. In StarWars.com's Star Wars Weekends coverage, Mickey is given the title of honorary member of the Jedi Council, and in Spring 2010, Disney released a figure of R2-MK, promoted as Jedi Mickey's astromech droid.
Disney-developed Star Wars projectsEdit
Star Wars RebelsEdit
On May 20, 2013, Lucasfilm announced its first project under the Disney banner: the animated TV series Star Wars Rebels, from executive producers Simon Kinberg, Greg Weisman, and former The Clone Wars supervising director Dave Filoni. Disney Channel, the company's flagship television property, will broadcast the premiere episode of Rebels, after which the series will move to sister network Disney XD for its regular run.
Phineas and Ferb: Star WarsEdit
Phineas and Ferb: Star Wars is a one-hour special episode of the animated Disney television series Phineas and Ferb that will air in summer 2014 on Disney Channel and Disney XD. The Star Wars-themed crossover was first announced at the annual San Diego Comic-Con International on July 19, 2013.
After the closure of LucasArts in 2013, the Star Wars gaming license was dispersed among Disney Interactive and Electronic Arts. Electronic Arts became responsible for larger scale games, which would be released on mainstream video game platforms. Disney Interactive assumed responsibility for creating casual Star Wars games among mobile and PC platforms.
Disney Interactive's largest division, Disney Mobile has been responsible for creating a variety of Star Wars mobile apps such as Star Wars: Assault Team, Star Wars Journeys: The Phantom Menace, Star Wars Scene Maker, and the upcoming Star Wars: Commander. Disney Mobile has also partnered with other game development studios to create Star Wars: Tiny Death Star, and to release LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga on iOS platforms.
While Disney Mobile is the primary source of Disney's Star Wars games, other divisions of Disney Interactive have contributed to the Star Wars brand as well. Disney Canada, primarily responsible for Disney's Club Penguin franchise released a Star Wars themed event on the Club Penguin virtual world. Disney Interactive Worlds, which is responsible for creating MMOs directed at children was developing Star Wars: Attack Squadrons, a multiplayer space combat game, for PC. The game was canceled in May 2014, but the studio did confirm that they are working on other Star Wars game experiences.
Star Wars ComicsEdit
It was announced in January 2014 that Marvel Entertainment, a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company will take over comic book and graphic novel publishing rights from Dark Horse Comics in 2015. Three comics to be published by Marvel have been announced, each taking place shortly after A New Hope. The first to be released will be Star Wars, which will chronicle the adventures of the characters introduced in A New Hope as a whole. The series will be ongoing, with new issues being released frequently. Two other comics, focusing on specific characters from the Original Trilogy are also set to be released early in the year. Star Wars: Darth Vader will follow the Sith Lord of the same name shortly after the destruction of the Death Star. The series will also be ongoing. One limited series, Star Wars: Princess Leia will follow Leia Organa on her search for survivors of the destruction of Alderaan.