George Lucas said in a statement that it is “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,” Lucas said. “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 give Lucasfilm the opportunity to blaze new trails in film, television, interactive media, theme parks, live entertainment, and consumer products.”
Kathleen Kennedy, now co-chairman of Lucasfilm, becomes president of the company, reporting to Disney Chairman Alan Horn. She’s also act brand manager for Star Wars. The announcement said she will serve as executive producer on new fils in the franchise, with Lucas as creative consultant. The announcement notes that Star Wars Episode 7 is scheduled for release in 2015, with more films expected to follow.
This is pretty ridiculous news. It looks like “Star Wars” will move now into becoming a franchise not unlike the James Bond series—a series of movies that will outlive its creator and possibly become a 20+ film franchise.
It's also definitely possible that the original beloved movie trilogy will be looked back on as just a start to something that dwarfs it in scope. We don't know. But it might be a good idea to mentally prepare for many more years of “Star Wars” films.