Disney buys Lucasfilm

Disney drops $4 billion on George Lucas' media empire, terrifying Star Wars fans the world over.

Disney CEO Bob Iger and Lucasfilm CEO George Lucas signing the deal that merged the two entertainment giants. Disney

Will 2012 be remembered as the year Lucasfilm went to the dark side?

We'll know in a few years, when the first Disney-produced "Star Wars" movie is released. Yes, the Hollywood giant agreed to pay more than $4 billion for George Lucas' media empire. The news touched a nerve with Star Wars nerds everywhere, who immediately feared for the future of the storied series, with visions of Mickey Mouse-shaped Death Stars and saccharine, family-friendly story lines. We'll find out whether our fears of a Disney-fied galaxy far, far away are founded in 2015, when Disney plans to push out the seventh "Star Wars" film, with Episodes 8 and 9 to follow.

But the acquisition isn't just about the Star Wars story. It also means the pre-eminent visual effects and sound effects studios (Industrial Light & Magic and Skywalker Sound) and the pre-eminent animation studio (Pixar) will live under one roof. If managed well, Disney has the potential to put out some groundbreaking, and even other-worldly, movies.

For more on this story, see Daniel Terdiman's story on the Disney-Lucasfilm acquisition.

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