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Lucasfilm Ltd. LLC
Lucasfilm Ltd.
Industry Film
FoundedDecember 10, 1971;48 years ago (1971-12-10)
Founder George Lucas
Headquarters Letterman Digital Arts Center
1 Letterman Dr., ,
United States
Number of locations
Area served
Key people
Products Motion pictures
Number of employees
2,000 (2015) [2]
Parent The Walt Disney Studios
Divisions Lucasfilm Animation
Lucas Online
Subsidiaries Industrial Light & Magic
Skywalker Sound
Website Official website OOjs UI icon edit-ltr-progressive.svg

Lucasfilm Ltd. LLC is an American film and television production company that is a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Studios, a division of The Walt Disney Company. The studio is best known for creating and producing the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises, as well as its leadership in developing special effects, sound and computer animation for film. Lucasfilm was founded by filmmaker George Lucas in 1971 in San Rafael, California; most of the company's operations were moved to San Francisco in 2005. [3] Disney acquired Lucasfilm in December 2012 for $2.2 billion in cash and $1.855 billion in stock. [4] [5] [6]



Independent era (1971–2012)

Lucasfilm headquarters at the Letterman Digital Arts Center Letterman Digital Arts Center, Building B (side view).jpg
Lucasfilm headquarters at the Letterman Digital Arts Center

Lucasfilm was founded by filmmaker George Lucas in 1971, [7] and incorporated as Lucasfilm Ltd. on September 12, 1977. [8] In the mid-1970s, the company's offices were located on the Universal Studios Lot. [9] Lucas founded The Star Wars Corporation, Inc. as a subsidiary to control various legal and financial aspects of Star Wars (1977), [10] including copyright, and sequel and merchandising rights. It also produced the 1978 Star Wars Holiday Special for 20th Century Fox Television. [11] That year, Lucas hired Los Angeles-based real-estate specialist Charles Weber to manage the company, telling him that he could keep the job as long as he made money. [12] Lucas wanted the focus of the company to be making independent films, but the company gradually became enlarged from five employees to almost 100, increasing in middle management and running up costs. In 1980, after Weber asked Lucas for $50 million to invest in other companies and suggested that they sell Skywalker Ranch to do so, Lucas fired Weber and had to let half of the Los Angeles staff go. [12] By the same year, the corporate subsidiary had been discontinued and its business was absorbed into the various divisions of Lucasfilm. [lower-alpha 1]

In 2005, Lucasfilm opened a studio in Singapore. [13] In January 2012, Lucas announced his retirement from producing large-scale blockbuster films and instead re-focusing his career on smaller, independently budgeted features. [14] [15] In June 2012, it was announced that producer Kathleen Kennedy, a long-term collaborator with Steven Spielberg and a producer of the Indiana Jones films, had been appointed as co-chair of Lucasfilm Ltd. It was reported that Kennedy would work alongside Lucas, who would remain chief executive and serve as co-chairman for at least one year, after which she would succeed him as the company's chairperson, which she did in June 2013. [16]

On July 8, 2012, Lucasfilm's marketing, online, and licensing units moved into the new Letterman Digital Arts Center located in the Presidio in San Francisco. It shares the complex with Industrial Light & Magic. Lucasfilm had planned an expansion at Skywalker Ranch in Marin County, California, but shelved the plan in 2012 due to opposition from neighbors. However, it still plans to expand elsewhere. [17] Skywalker Sound remains the only Lucasfilm division based at Skywalker Ranch. [18]

On September 5, 2012, Micheline Chau, who served as president and COO of Lucasfilm for two decades, announced that she was retiring. With her departure, senior executives for each of the Lucasfilm divisions will report directly to Kathleen Kennedy. Chau was credited with keeping the Lucasfilm and Star Wars brands strong, especially through animation spin-offs and licensing initiatives. [19]

Subsidiary of Disney (2012–present)

Discussions relating to the possibility of The Walt Disney Company signing a distribution deal with Lucasfilm officially began in May 2011, after a meeting that George Lucas had with Disney CEO Bob Iger during the inauguration of the Star Tours – The Adventures Continue attraction. [20] Lucas told Iger he was considering retirement and planned to sell the company, as well as the Star Wars franchise. [21] On October 30, 2012, Disney announced a deal to acquire Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion, [22] with approximately half in cash and half in shares of Disney stock. [4] Lucasfilm had previously collaborated with the company's Walt Disney Imagineering division to create theme park attractions centered on Star Wars and Indiana Jones for various Walt Disney Parks and Resorts worldwide. [23]

Kathleen Kennedy, co-chairman of Lucasfilm, became president of Lucasfilm, reporting to Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn. Additionally she serves as the brand manager for Star Wars, working directly with Disney's global lines of business to build, further integrate, and maximize the value of this global franchise. Kennedy serves as producer on new Star Wars feature films, with George Lucas originally announced as serving as creative consultant. [24] The company also announced the future release of new Star Wars films, starting with Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens in 2015. [23]

Under the deal, Disney acquired ownership of Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and Lucasfilm's operating businesses in live-action film production, consumer products, video games, animation, visual effects, and audio post-production. [25] Disney also acquired Lucasfilm's portfolio of entertainment technologies. The intent was for Lucasfilm employees to remain in their current locations. [26] Star Wars merchandising would begin under Disney in the fiscal year 2014. [27] Starting with Star Wars Rebels , certain products will be co-branded with the Disney name, [28] [29] akin to what Disney has done with Pixar. [30] On December 4, 2012, the Disney-Lucasfilm merger was approved by the Federal Trade Commission, allowing the acquisition to be finalized without dealing with antitrust problems. [31] On December 18, 2012, Lucasfilm Ltd. converted from a corporation to a limited liability company, changing its name to Lucasfilm Ltd. LLC in the process,. [32] On December 21, 2012, Disney completed the acquisition and Lucasfilm became a wholly owned subsidiary of Disney. [6]

Iger confirmed that Lucasfilm had plans to have standalone Star Wars films released sometime during the six-year period the sequel trilogy is being released, with Lawrence Kasdan and Simon Kinberg each developing a title. [33]

In April 2013, the development arm of the LucasArts division was closed down and most of its staff was laid off. [34] [35] However, LucasArts remained open with a skeleton staff of fewer than ten employees so it could retain its function as a video game licensor. [36] On May 6, 2013, Disney announced an exclusive deal with Electronic Arts to produce Star Wars games for the core gaming market. LucasArts retained the ability to license, and Disney Interactive Studios retained the ability to develop, Star Wars games for the casual gaming market. [37] [38]

20th Century Fox, the original distributor of the first six Star Wars films, retained the physical and theatrical distribution rights to the original two Star Wars trilogies and permanent full distribution rights for the original 1977 film, until May 2020 according to the 2012 Lucasfilm acquisition deal. [39] On March 20, 2019, Disney officially acquired the studio after acquiring its owner, 21st Century Fox, thus combining all these rights under its umbrella. Lucasfilm retains the television and digital distribution rights to Star Wars Episodes I through VI with exception to Episode IV. [40] In December 2013, Walt Disney Studios purchased the distribution and marketing rights to future Indiana Jones films from Paramount Pictures, although the latter studio would retain the distribution rights to the first four films and would receive "financial participation" from any additional films. [41] [42]

On January 3, 2014, Lucasfilm announced that Dark Horse Comics' license for Star Wars comics would end in 2015, and return to fellow Disney subsidiary Marvel Comics. [43] On April 24, 2014, Lucasfilm announced that the Star Wars expanded universe would no longer be explicitly sub canon (but may be drawn upon for future works) and that The Clone Wars and Rebels animated series would be considered canon and future Star Wars projects would be overseen by a new story group to keep to that canon. Additionally, the Star Wars Legends banner would be used for those Expanded Universe materials that are in print. [44] Disney Publishing Worldwide also announced that Del Rey would publish a new line of canon Star Wars books under the Lucasfilm Story Group being released starting in September on a bi-monthly schedule. [45]

On January 16, 2014, Lucasfilm opened its Sandcrawler building on Fusionopolis View in Singapore as its regional headquarters with all staff moved from Changi Business Park. The Walt Disney Company Southeast Asia and ESPN Asia Pacific were also moved into the building. [13]

In mid September 2018, Disney CEO Bob Iger stated in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter that there would be a "slow down" in the production of Star Wars films following the under-performance of Solo: A Star Wars Story at the box office. In addition, Iger also confirmed that several Star Wars films including The Rise of Skywalker and David Benioff and D. B. Weiss' films were in development. [46] [47] [48] In late September 2018, Kennedy's contract as president was renewed for three additional years. [49]

In June 2019, Michelle Rejwan was named as senior vice president of live-action development and production. [50]

Company structure

Former divisions


YearFilmDirector(s)Story byScreenwriter(s)Distributor(s)BudgetGross Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic
1973 American Graffiti [60] George Lucas [60] George Lucas, Gloria Katz and Willard Huyck [61] Universal Pictures [61] $777,000 [62] $140 million [62] 96%97
1977 Star Wars George Lucas 20th Century Fox [lower-alpha 2] $11 million [63] $775.4 million93% (114 reviews) [64] 90 (24 reviews) [65]
1979 More American Graffiti [66] Bill L. Norton [66] Universal Studios$3 million$15 million22%N/A
1980 The Empire Strikes Back [67] Irvin Kershner [67] George Lucas Leigh Brackett and Lawrence Kasdan [68] 20th Century Fox 1 $33 million [69] $547.9 million [70] 95%82
1981 Raiders of the Lost Ark Steven Spielberg George Lucas and Philip Kaufman Lawrence Kasdan Paramount Pictures $18 million$389.9 million95%85
1983 Return of the Jedi Richard Marquand George LucasLawrence Kasdan and George Lucas20th Century Fox 1 $42.7 million$475.3 million81%58
Twice Upon a Time John Korty and Charles Swenson John Korty, Bill Couturié and Suella KennedyJohn Korty, Charles Swenson, Suella Kennedy and Bill Couturié Warner Bros. UnknownN/A
1984 Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom Steven SpielbergGeorge LucasWillard Huyck and Gloria KatzParamount Pictures$28.2 million$333.1 million85%57
1985 Latino Haskell Wexler Cinecom Pictures UnknownN/A
Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters Paul Schrader Leonard Schrader and Paul SchraderWarner Bros.$5 million$20,75888%81
1986 Labyrinth Jim Henson Dennis Lee and Jim Henson Terry Jones TriStar Pictures $27.68 million$11.6 million68%50
Howard the Duck Willard Huyck Willard Huyck and Gloria KatzUniversal Pictures$37 million$48 million15%28
1988 Willow Ron Howard George Lucas Bob Dolman Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer $35 million$57.3 million53%47
Tucker: The Man and His Dream Francis Ford Coppola Arnold Schulman and David Seidler Paramount Pictures$24 million$19.7 million84%74
The Land Before Time Don Bluth Judy Freudberg and Tony Geiss Stu KriegerUniversal Pictures Amblin Entertainment $12.5 million$84.4 million70%66
1989 Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade Steven SpielbergGeorge Lucas and Menno Meyjes Jeffrey Boam Paramount Pictures$48 million$474.2 million88%65
1994 Radioland Murders Mel Smith George LucasWillard Huyck, Gloria Katz, Jeff Reno and Ron OsbornUniversal Pictures$15 million$1.3 million24%N/A
1999 Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace George Lucas20th Century Fox 1 $115 million$1.027 billion53%51
2002 Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones George LucasGeorge Lucas and Jonathan Hales $115 million$649.4 million66%54
2005 Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith George Lucas$113 million$850 million80%68
2008 Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull Steven SpielbergGeorge Lucas and Jeff Nathanson David Koepp Paramount Pictures$185 million$786.6 million77%65
Star Wars: The Clone Wars Dave Filoni Henry Gilroy, Steven Melching, Scott MurphyWarner Bros.$8.5 million$68.3 million18%35
2012 Red Tails Anthony Hemingway John Ridley John Ridley and Aaron McGruder 20th Century Fox 1 $58 million$50.4 million40%46
2015 Strange Magic Gary Rydstrom George LucasDavid Berenbaum, Irene Mecchi and Gary Rydstrom Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures $70-$100 million [71] $13.6 million17%25
Star Wars: The Force Awakens J. J. Abrams Lawrence Kasdan, J. J. Abrams and Michael Arndt $250 million$2.068 billion93%81
2016 Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Gareth Edwards John Knoll and Gary Whitta Chris Weitz and Tony Gilroy $200 million$1.056 billion85%65
2017 Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Rian Johnson
$200 million$1.333 billion91%85
2018 Solo: A Star Wars Story Ron Howard Jonathan Kasdan and Lawrence Kasdan$275 million$392.7 million70%62
2019 Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker J. J. Abrams Derek Connolly, Colin Trevorrow, J. J. Abrams and Chris Terrio J. J. Abrams and Chris Terrio$275 million$1.029 billion52% (465 reviews) [72] 54 (60 reviews) [73]


YearFilmDirector(s)Story byScreenwriter(s)Distributor(s)Status
2021 Indiana Jones 5 Steven Spielberg N/ADavid Koepp [74] Walt Disney Studios
Motion Pictures
Development [75]
TBA Children of Blood and Bone [76] Rick Famuyiwa [76] Kay Oyegun [76] Development [76]

Television series


Television films and specials

Other productions

See also


  1. The Star Wars Corporation's name may still be seen on certain Star Wars-related items, such as the end credits copyright notice of the film, and in reprints of Star Wars: From the Adventures of Luke Skywalker and Splinter of the Mind's Eye as the copyrights have not expired or been renewed.
  2. Now part of The Walt Disney Studios

Related Research Articles

George Lucas American film director and producer

George Walton Lucas Jr. is an American filmmaker, philanthropist and entrepreneur. Lucas is best known for creating the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises and founding Lucasfilm, LucasArts and Industrial Light & Magic. He served as chairman of Lucasfilm before selling it to The Walt Disney Company in 2012.

LucasArts American video game producer

LucasArts Entertainment Company, LLC, doing business as Lucasfilm Games, is an American licensor. Until 2013, it was also a video game publisher and video game developer. LucasArts is best known for its graphic adventure games, as well as games based on the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises. Its headquarters are in San Francisco, California.

<i>Star Wars</i> Epic science fantasy space opera franchise

Star Wars is an American epic space-opera media franchise created by George Lucas, which began with the eponymous 1977 film and quickly became a worldwide pop-culture phenomenon. The franchise has been expanded into various films and other media, including television series, video games, novels, comic books, theme park attractions, and themed areas, comprising an all-encompassing fictional universe. The franchise holds a Guinness World Records title for the "Most successful film merchandising franchise". In 2018, the total value of the Star Wars franchise was estimated at US$65 billion, and it is currently the fifth-highest-grossing media franchise of all time.

Pixar computer-animation studio

Pixar Animation Studios is an American computer animation studio based in Emeryville, California, a subsidiary of Walt Disney Studios. Pixar began in 1979 as part of the Lucasfilm computer division, known as the Graphics Group, before its spin-off as a corporation on February 3, 1986, with funding from Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, who became its majority shareholder. Disney purchased Pixar in 2006 at a valuation of $7.4 billion by converting each share of Pixar stock to 2.3 shares of Disney stock, a transaction that resulted in Jobs becoming Disney's largest single shareholder at the time. Pixar is best known for its feature films technologically powered by RenderMan, the company's own implementation of the industry-standard RenderMan Interface Specification image-rendering application programming interface. Luxo Jr., a character from the studio's 1986 short film of the same name, is the studio's mascot.

Industrial Light & Magic American visual effects studio

Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) is an American motion picture visual effects company that was founded in May 1975 by George Lucas. It is a division of the film production company Lucasfilm, which Lucas founded, and was created when Lucas began production of the film Star Wars. It is also the original founder company of the animation studio Pixar Animation Studios.

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Robert Allen Iger is an American media executive, film producer, author and businessman who is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of The Walt Disney Company. Before working for Disney, Iger served as the President of ABC Television from 1994–95, and as President/COO of Capital Cities/ABC, Inc. from 1995 until Disney's acquisition of the company in 1996.

Lucasfilm Animation American animation company

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Indiana Jones is an American media franchise based on the adventures of Dr. Henry Walton "Indiana" Jones, Jr., a fictional professor of archaeology. It began in 1981 with the film Raiders of the Lost Ark. A prequel, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, followed in 1984, and a sequel, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, was released in 1989 with a fourth film, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, being released in 2008. All of those films are distributed by Paramount Pictures. A fifth film is scheduled to be released in mid-2021. The series was created by George Lucas, and its films are directed by Steven Spielberg and star Harrison Ford as the title character. The Walt Disney Company has owned the Indiana Jones intellectual property since its acquisition of Lucasfilm, the series' production company, in 2012, when Lucas sold it for $4 billion, and the distribution and marketing rights to future Indiana Jones films since 2013, with Paramount retaining the distribution rights to the first four films and receiving "financial participation" from any additional films.

<i>Star Wars: The Force Awakens</i> 2015 American epic space-opera film directed by J. J. Abrams

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a 2015 American space opera film produced, co-written and directed by J. J. Abrams. It is the first installment in the Star Wars sequel trilogy, following the story of Return of the Jedi (1983), and is the seventh episode of the nine-part "Skywalker saga". It was produced by Lucasfilm and Abrams's production company Bad Robot Productions, and was distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. The film's ensemble cast includes Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong'o, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, and Max von Sydow. Set 30 years after Return of the Jedi, The Force Awakens follows Rey, Finn, Poe Dameron, and Han Solo's search for Luke Skywalker and their fight in the Resistance, led by General Leia Organa and veterans of the Rebel Alliance, against Kylo Ren and the First Order, a successor to the Galactic Empire.

Star Wars has expanded to other media, which include all Star Wars fictional material produced by Lucasfilm or officially licensed by it outside of the original theatrical Star Wars films produced by George Lucas. The spin-off material was moderated by Lucasfilm, and Lucas reserved the right to both draw from and contradict it in his own works. This includes an array of derivative Star Wars works produced in conjunction with, between, and after the original trilogy (1977–1983), prequel trilogy (1999–2005), and sequel trilogy (2015–2019) of films, and includes books, comic books, video games, and television series.

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Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is a 2019 American epic space-opera film produced, co-written, and directed by J. J. Abrams. It is the third installment of the Star Wars sequel trilogy, following The Force Awakens (2015) and The Last Jedi (2017), and the final episode of the nine-part "Skywalker saga". It was produced by Lucasfilm and Abrams's production company Bad Robot Productions and was distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. The film's ensemble cast includes Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Anthony Daniels, Kelly Marie Tran, Naomi Ackie, Domhnall Gleeson, Richard E. Grant, Lupita Nyong'o, Keri Russell, Joonas Suotamo, Ian McDiarmid, and Billy Dee Williams. It features the second posthumous film performance by Fisher, who died in 2016 and appears through the use of unused footage from The Force Awakens.

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