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How Much Did It Cost Disney To Buy Star Wars?

No price is too much for the Mouse.

George Lucas with Troopers

The Mouse has a long shadow, and there’s no franchise too big or too historic to be “safe” from passing under its ears. Of course, everyone has their own opinion about the Walt Disney Company becoming the ultimate Megazord of production houses—for my part, I will just say that considering the number of beloved narrative universes it owns it could dedicate some of its revenue to also create something truly innovative and diverse.

But that’s neither here nor there for today’s subject, which is one of Disney’s biggest and most profitable moves—the 2012 acquisition of Lucasfilm, Ltd. and the associated Star Wars franchise. George Lucas’ sale of his production house and his legendary franchise did not come out of the blue—the business partnership with Disney went back a long way and started in the Eighties, when the first Star Wars-inspired rides (called the Star Tours) opened in Disney parks all around the world, from the United States to Japan to France.

A picture of one of the Star Tours rides present in Disney parks throughout the world
The ride on the Disneyland Paris version of Star Tours is still one of the highlights of my first ever trip to a Disney park. (Disney)

So there were some solid foundations for George Lucas and then-Disney CEO Bob Iger to build their plan on. Their very expensive plan. Their $4 billion dollar plan. That’s how much the Mouse House paid Lucas for complete ownership of the Star Wars franchise, from past movies and other media to future ones. Let’s just say that buying one of the biggest and most beloved series of all time does not come cheap.

There’s an interesting detail in the acquisition, though—one that might indicate that George Lucas walked home with a lot more than $4 billion dollars. That’s because the payment plan for Disney was split in half, according to Celebrity Net Worth: “George opted for a half cash/half stock deal. […] $2.21 billion in cash and 37,076,679 shares of Disney. […] His 37 million shares represented a roughly 2.1% stake in the company.” 

Everything for a chance to get Mickey posing with a lightsaber. (Disney)

Since the value of Disney stock has significantly risen since 2012 and assuming that George Lucas kept all of his shares, what he owns today would be worth something just shy of $8 billion dollars—making the deal actually closer to $10 billion dollars. Not a bad sum at all. So maybe it was worth not being involved in the Sequel Trilogy—then again, if those three movies were always going to be the disappointing messes that they ended up being maybe he would have also steered clear of them for free.

(via Inside The Magic; image: Getty Images)

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Benedetta (she/her) lives in Italy and has been writing about pop culture and entertainment since 2015. She has considered being in fandom a defining character trait since she was in middle school and wasn't old enough to read the fanfiction she was definitely reading and loves dragons, complex magic systems, unhinged female characters, tragic villains and good queer representation. You’ll find her covering everything genre fiction, especially if it’s fantasy-adjacent and even more especially if it’s about ASOIAF. In this Bangtan Sonyeondan sh*t for life.