By Sarah Barchus
The Walt Disney Company announced Tuesday that it would buy Lucasfilm for $4 billion, the Cable News Network reported.
Disney will pay for the film company's rights with $2 billion in cash and 40 million shares of Disney's stock, making George Lucas a significant shareholder, CNN reported.
Disney will own the rights to the "Star Wars" and "Indiana Jones" franchises and Industrial Light & Magic and Skywalker Sound production companies, the Star Tribune reported.
The acquisition expands Disney's media property, which includes Pixar, the Muppets, Marvel, ESPN and ABC, the Star Tribune reported.
Disney CEO Bob Iger said the deal is the result of the Lucas's transition plan that he started about a year and a half ago when Lucas "began contemplating a form of retirement," CNN reported.
"It's now time for me to pass Star Wars on to a new generation of filmmakers," CNN reported George Lucas said in a written statement. "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."
Disney plans on continuing the Star Wars franchise through a new trilogy, the first film, Star Wars Episode 7, to premier in 2015, the Star Tribune reported. After the trilogy Disney plans to release a new Star Wars movie based on fringe characters every one or two years and is considering creating a television series, CNN reported.
Fans theorized about the new movies on Twitter, causing topics like "Star Wars," "LucasArts" and "Disney" to trend, the Star Tribune reported.
Current co-chairman of Lucasfilm Kathleen Kennedy will become the Lucasfilm's president and report to Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn, CNN reported. As the new Star Wars movies's executive producer, Kennedy said Lucas will continue to have a key advisory role, the Star Tribune reported.
"My Yoda has to be there," she said, the Star Tribune reported.
Lucas said he looked forward to the transition, the Star Tribune reported. "I get to be a fan now," he said. "It's a lot more fun actually, than actually having to go out into the mud and snow."