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After Disney deal, ‘Star Wars’ might be a 007-style perennial

Premiere Of Twentieth Century Fox's 'The Watch' - Red Carpet

Premiere Of Twentieth Century Fox's "The Watch" - Red Carpet

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Updated: December 1, 2012 6:15AM



While groundbreaking filmmaker George Lucas already had announced he was stepping down from running the daily operations of his self-titled company that had launched the “Star Wars” phenomenon and revolutionized moviemaking, the announcement Tuesday he had sold Lucasfilm to Disney for $4.05 billion still caused a huge stir in Hollywood, Wall Street and entertainment circles.

In the words of Walt Disney Co. CEO Robert Iger, “Lucasfilm reflects the extraordinary passion, vision, and storytelling of its founder.” The announcement also included the news Disney would revive the “Star Wars” franchise with “Star Wars Episode 7,” targeted for a 2015 release.

Disney plans to continue making “Star Wars” movies approximately every two years. The seemingly permanent franchise reminded a top Hollywood exec Tuesday “of the James Bond concept … something that audiences will come to expect as a permanent feature in their moviegoing lives.” Lucas will remain as a creative consultant on those future “Star Wars” projects.

In a statement, Lucas said, “For the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see ‘Star Wars’ passed from one generation to the next. It’s now time for me to pass ‘Star Wars’ on to a new generation of filmmakers. I’ve always believed ‘Star Wars’ could live beyond me, and I thought it was important to set up the transition during my lifetime.”

Longtime Lucas associate Kathleen Kennedy will continue on as president of Lucasfilm, reporting to Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn and overseeing the “Star Wars” brand, which is expected to be greatly expanded.

† In recent years, Lucas has directed his creative energies in various ways beyond his high-profile “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones” franchises — including far smaller projects like his well-regarded production of “Red Tails,” the Cuba Gooding Jr. film released earlier this year about the famed Tuskegee Airmen of World War II. A source close to Lucas told this column that the sale to Disney “does not mean George will stop being creative. Just the opposite. Creativity is at the core of George’s DNA. I think it will be exciting to see all the new things he will do.”

† Not surprisingly in this era of instanteous social media reactions, Twitter lit up quickly Tuesday with humorous suggestions for future “Star Wars” flicks borrowing Disney themes. Among the offerings: “Song of the Sith,” “When You Wish Upon a Death Star” and “Snow White and the Seven Ewoks.”

ROMANTIC RUMBLINGS: Riley Keough and Ryan Cabrera are back together. He was there for her after her recent split with “Magic Mike” star Alex Pettyfer. This time Cabrera is doing a better job of schmoozing Riley’s grandmother, Priscilla Presley, and mom, Lisa Marie Presley — something he reportedly neglected back in 2006, when he first dated Riley.

SPECIAL SIGNAL: Talk about subtle! Eminem revealed he’ll release a new album next year simply by wearing a baseball cap, with 2013 emblazoned on it.

STYLISH SEND-OFF: A large group of Our Town’s fashion, social and civic communities gathered Monday evening to toast the memory of the late Dorothy Fuller, long a driving force on Chicago’s fashion scene. Speakers at the event were a longtime Apparel Industry Board supporter, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, along with Joe Ahern, Marsha Brenner, Susan Glick, Paulette McGuire, Kevin Sullivan, Josie Tomes, Dori Wilson and Fuller’s son, Michael Englehaupt. A legion of Fuller fans on hand included former Ald. Burt Natarus, Terry Savage, Shauna Montgomery, Shelley Farley, Nancy Berman, Belle Allen, Michael Kutza, Tony Rossi and Dierdre Curry Bormes — who wowed the crowd with “Amazing Grace,” accompanied by music man extraordinaire Stanley Paul.

LOCAL ANGLE: More proof that it pays to be from Chicago: The New York Post reports Vince Vaughn picked up the tab for two women he called “very sweet” at a fancy New York restaurant — after he learned they were from his hometown.

HOLIDAY ACTION: Adding star power to the BMO Harris Bank Magnificent Mile Lights Festival and parade Nov. 17 will be Joey Fatone, “American Idol” alum Colton Dixon, teen band R5 and Disney stars Bella Thorne (“Shake It Up”), Olivia Holt (“Kickin’ It,” “Girl vs. Monster”) and Shane Harper (“Good Luck Charlie”).

† Regulars on the city’s party scene will hear a very familiar voice as they walk along State Street during the upcoming holiday season. The Chicago Loop Alliance has had social scribe Candace Jordan record a number of merry greetings for shoppers that will be played along “That Great Street,” beginning Nov. 23.

TAKE A BOW: Congrats to veteran WTTW-Channel 11 reporter Elizabeth Brackett, who won the world championship triathlon for the fourth time in her age group — taking the gold medal in Auckland, New Zealand, recently in freezing, gale force winds.

But here’s the amazing part: She won her championship swimming, biking and running all with a hand broken shortly before she left for Down Under!

SEEN ON THE SCENE: There was a flurry of activity at Francesca’s on Taylor Street as Taylor Kinney and Mo Gallini taped a dinner scene with guest star Sarah Shahi (“Fairly Legal”) for a “Chicago Fire” episode slated to air in early December. … Blackhawks legend and Hall of Famer Bobby Hull was seen dining at Harry Caray’s on Kinzie, while Harry Caray’s in Rosemont was the eatery of choice for idled Hawk star Jonathan Toews and ex-Hawk (and another Hall of Fame member) Michel Goulet — joined by Chicago Wolves coach Kenny McCodden.



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