Why Disney Has Actually Paid Over $10 Billion For ‘Star Wars’

in Star Wars

bob iger and george lucas signing contract for disney to buy lucasfilm

Credit: StarWars.com

When Star Wars creator George Lucas released his first Star Wars movie, Star Wars: A New Hope (1977), nobody knew what the Star Wars franchise would become or that it would change the film industry forever.

luke skywalker, leia organa, han solo (left to right) in star wars a new hope
Credit: Lucasfilm

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By the time the original trilogy — which also included Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Star Wars: Return of the Jedi (1983) — ended, Jedi Knight Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Princess Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher), and Han Solo (Harrison Ford) were the stuff of cinematic legend.

Lucas had long had a relationship with the Walt Disney Company. The Star Tours ride, which features Star Wars characters, first opened in Disneyland Park’s Tomorrowland in 1987. In subsequent years, the ride opened in Disneyland Park at Tokyo Disney Resort, Disney’s Hollywood Studios Park at Walt Disney World, and Disneyland Park at Disneyland Paris. This attraction has since been converted to Star Tours — The Adventures Continue.

c3po and darth vader in star tours the adventure continues
Credit: Disney

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Furthermore, Indiana Jones Adventure, based on Lucasfilm’s Indiana Jones IP — also starring Harrison Ford — is located at Disneyland Park and Tokyo DisneySea. Another Indiana Jones-inspired attraction is also located at Disneyland Paris.

Then, in 2012, Lucas and The Walt Disney Company shocked everyone when then-CEO Bob Iger announced that Disney was buying Lucasfilm, Ltd. in a $4 billion deal.

But, wait, how much has George Lucas actually made?

Although most Disney and Star Wars fans are well aware of the fact that Lucas made a cool $4 billion when he sold Lucasfilm, the actual amount the sci-fi guru has made is significantly more.

billy dee williams, george lucas, harrison ford, and mark hamill with millennium falcon at disneyland
Credit: Disney

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Celebrity Net Worth shared details about Disney’s Lucasfilm acquisition:

“George opted for a half cash/half stock deal. Technically, the deal was 55% cash/45% stock:

$2.21 billion in cash 

37,076,679 shares of Disney

At the time the deal was closed, Disney was trading at $50 per share, so the “stock” portion was $1.85 billion. His 37 million shares represented a roughly 2.1% stake in the company…”

george-lucas-and-disney-characters
Credit: Disney

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Their report continued, noting that Lucas’s interest in the company has only grown over the years (maybe it was worth the lack of involvement in the Star Wars sequel trilogy):

Assuming George still owns his full stake, at $200 George’s 37 million shares are worth = $7.4 billion

It gets better!

In years when Disney is paying dividends (which historically has been every year except 2020), as the owner of 37 million shares, George receives $32 million twice a year as a dividend payment. So in the years 2013 – 2019, George presumably received around $448 million in dividends.

Put it all together and you now understand why George’s net worth today is sitting at an all-time high of $10 billion.

george-lucas-star-wars
Credit: Lucasfilm

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So, although the Lucasfilm buyout was actually $4 billion, Disney’s stock price has increased so exponentially over the past nine years that Lucas has now earned $10 billion or more from the sale.

What’s next for Star Wars?

So far, Disney has expanded the Star Wars saga both onscreen and within its theme parks with Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort.

In addition to Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016) and Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018), there was a third Skywalker Saga trilogy. The sequel trilogy consisted of Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens (2015), Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi (2017), and Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker (2019)

oscar isaac as poe dameron star wars
Credit: Lucasfilm

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Then, after the sequels divided Star Wars fans, Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni’s The Mandalorian brought them together again. The hit streaming series ushered in a new era of Star Wars and currently has three confirmed spinoffs in the works.

Ahsoka, Rangers of the New Republic, and The Book of Boba Fett will follow popular Star Wars characters like Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson) and bounty hunter Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison). There are even rumors that animated Star Wars Rebels fan-favorite Hera Syndulla (voiced by Vanessa Marshall) could make her live-action debut in Rangers.

Furthermore, Disney+ will air at least 11 Star Wars series — including the four in the Mandalorian universe — over the next few years.

andor sizzler video
Credit: Lucasfilm

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George Lucas himself even has writing credits on one upcoming show, Rogue One prequel Andor.

What do you think about how much George Lucas has ultimately made from selling Lucasfilm? 

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