The Walt Disney Company has agreed to acquire Lucasfilm LTD for a cash and stock package worth $4.05 billion. (UPDATE: You can read the SEC filing here.)
Oh, and they are revving up “Star Wars 7″ for 2015 with George Lucas serving as a mere “creative consultant.” As a wise man once said, I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened.
But let’s put aside the fact that Disney has acquired probably the biggest independent film company of all time and has decided to double down on continuing the Star Wars film franchise long into the future AND the fact that more and more creative endeavors are being owned by fewer and fewer mega-corporations. Just… just try to forget about all that.
What about the comics?
With all the hand-wringing going on right now, it’s not hard to imagine that the most aggressive pacing and stress smoking is going on right now in Portland, OR at the office of Dark Horse Comics.
Dark Horse Comics is, depending on the month, the third to fifth biggest American comic book company. A lot of that has to do with their licensed comics, and many of its most long running and most popular are Star Wars comics. What happens now that LucasFilm is now owned by Disney which has its own comic book company (a little publishing house called Marvel Comics)? There is some history to look to in the form of BOOM! Studios. BOOM! held the comic book licenses to many Disney properties. But those licenses were not renewed after Disney acquired Marvel and now Marvel is publishing Disney comics. It’s not hard to see the same thing happening with Star Wars comics once those licenses with Dark Horse expire. And then what will happen to Dark Horse Comics if they lose some of their most high profile books? I have no knowledge of Dark Horse’s finances, but most comic book companies operate on the razor’s edge of profitability, if they do at all. The ripple effect of this deal could be wide-reaching and we’ll just have to wait and see what actually happens.
(UPDATE: Dark Horse Comics has released a statement that basically says nothing and reads very similarly to what BOOM! Studios said after the Disney/Marvel deal.)
In the meantime, all we have is a lot of questions, a lot of dread about future Star Wars films, and the aftermath of a real life tragedy in the northeast to really worry about.
UPDATE: Here’s George Lucas talking about the deal.
It’s worth nothing that, as he said in the video, Lucas has been talking about retiring for a while now, which is why I’m not totally surprised that this deal happened. The dude is 68. (And he’s got a giant Santa Barbara beach house construction to oversee.)