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1. SDCC 2014: Watchtower Thursday: Surfing the Tsunami Online

*  We’ve won!  Politicians officially open Comic-Con!

On Thursday, to mark the official opening of Comic-Con International 2014, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and San Diego City Council President Todd Gloria harnessed their inner superheroes and flew through the air on a zip-line near the downtown Convention Center.

Gloria was the interim Mayor after the Filner scandal.  Faulconer won the special election.  Faulconer has strong ties to Comic-Con: he worked PR on the second convention center expansion before he ran for public office, and supports the expansion of the convention center.  His hobbies: yachting and biking.

* Google Glass banned from Comic-Con screenings.

 Not that surprising.

*For the wrestling fans out there… Sting appears at the WWE panel. [No, not the musician.]

Is this bigger than JR Jr. working for DC?

 * SYNERGY!

Well, yes; corporate synergy is another explanation—ESPN, like Marvel, is owned by Disney. The three spots feature former SportsCenter anchor Kenny Mayne introducing Marvel’s latest super team as new ESPN employees brought in to ensure the safety of the new SportsCenter set.

How soon before we see “ESPN: The Sports Comic Magazine”?  What?  Sports fans are geeks, too!  T-shirts, who-would-win fantasy leagues, arcane statistics and knowledge, objectified athletes and cheerleaders…

 * This year’s economic profile of Comic-Con.

 *  We discover Stan Lee’s one weakness…  Get well soon, Stan!   

*  OH NOES!  Girls are ruining Peanuts too!

“With their youthful, ingenious, and fashion-savvy sensibility, Snoopy and Belle are a perfect fit with the We Heart It community, and we’re looking forward to a terrifically successful partnership,” said Dave Williams, President of We Heart It. “Peanuts has always offered a fresh and original world view, which is exactly what We Heart It fans crave. This will provide an outstanding opportunity for our fans to find inspiration and engagement with this legendary brand.”

It’s like an electronic greeting card.  You can like and share pictures online.

* A Comic-Con Virgin, from Japan:

* The Boston Herald profiles how Wired used their “Wired Café” to best effect.

* Reed Elsevier, owner of NYCC, announces earnings.

 * Some Star Wars VII tidbits.

Movie Wars

DC wins on a quiet day (so far, as of 7 PM EDT/4 PM PDT), getting great publicity for their “All Hat, No Battle” Batsuit reveal. 

* MTV plots how DC can beat Marvel in Hall H.

0 Comments on SDCC 2014: Watchtower Thursday: Surfing the Tsunami Online as of 7/25/2014 12:56:00 AM
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2. Comic Con 2014 Schedule

For those attending next week’s Comic Con International in lovely San Diego, California, here is my schedule of events:

*** BE SURE TO STOP AT SIMON & SCHUSTER (booth 1128) TO RECEIVE A FREE COPY OF The Battle for WondLa LIMITED EDITION SKETCHBOOK!

wondla_3

Thursday, July 24th
10:00 am -10:30 am
Booth 1119
Book signingMysterious Galaxy Book Store presents Tony DiTerlizzi. Many of my titles will be available for purchase or bring your books and cards to be signed.

12:00 pm-1:00 pm
Room 32AB
Fairy Tale Remix — Toto, I’ve a feeling these aren’t your typical fairy tales… From cyborg Cinderellas to swashbuckling pirates, fairy tales are just full of possibilities for retelling and reimagining. A fantastic line up of authors will discuss how they take very well-known stories (such as Rapunzel, The Wizard of Oz, Tam Lin) and remix them for a new audience, and how they create their very own fairy tales! Moderated by Shannon Hale (Ever After High series), this panel featuring Marissa Meyer (The Lunar Chronicles series), Katherine Harbour (Thorn Jack), John Peck (Charming Series), Cornelia Funke (Mirrorworld Series), Tony DiTerlizzi (Search for WondLa), Ben Tripp (The Accidental Highwayman), and Danielle Page (Dorothy Must Die) will give insight to the fairy tales of old, and new!

1:30 pm – 2:30 pm
Autograph Area AA09
Group Signing: Fairy Tale Remix
*I’ll have the FREE WondLa III sketchbooks on hand for the signing after the panel discussion.

StarWarsDiTerlizziMcQuarrie

Friday, July 25th
3:00 pm-4:00 pm
Room 7AB
Star Wars: The Adventures of Luke Skywalker, Jedi Knight — Ralph McQuarrie’s art for the original Star Wars trilogy is introduced to a new generation of young readers in Star Wars: The Adventures of Luke Skywalker, Jedi Knight. Join New York Times bestselling author Tony DiTerlizzi as he talks about the conceptualization of this project and the process, challenges, and privileges of writing to the works of a legend; along with Troy Alders (Art Director, Lucasfilm), J.W. Rinzler (Executive Editor, Lucasfilm), and Joanne Chan (Children’s Book Editor, Lucasfilm).

*We will have a promotional postcard wallet of amazing McQuarrie art that we will be giving out at the panel, so stop on by!

wondla3_2

PS –For those not attending this year’s comic con who wish to nab one of the limited edition The Battle for WondLa sketchbooks, fear not. Stuart Ng Books (on of my favorite places to spend my royalty checks) will be selling them after the convention.

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3. Best New Kids Stories | July 2014

We have quite the variety of books to share with readers this month. We're featuring picture books all the way to popular teen books. Jeffrey Brown returns with the highly anticipated sequel to the NY Times Bestseller Star Wars: Jedi Academy! There is fun stuff for picture book and puppy fans; as well as great chapter books for older readers.

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4. Best Selling Kids Series | June 2014

Best Selling Books for Kids This month, DK Readers: Star Wars are on top of The Children’s Book Review’s best selling kids series list.

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5. STAR WARS Book Trailer

Lucasfilm has released a trailer for my upcoming picture book adaptation of the original trilogy, title The Adventures of Luke Skywalker, Jedi Knight. Take a look:

 

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6. Vader’s Little Princess

Vader's Little PrincessJeffrey Brown has cemented himself as a firm favourite of mine for a bunch of reasons, not least:

  • his genius in coming up with an idea for some clever books and seeing them through to fruition
  • because he’s gotten me out of many a gift-giving bind (especially for friends with children, as being a child-friendly but child-free person, I’m not overly familiar with what appeals to kids these days)
  • his books manage the holy-grail feat of impressing both adults and kids.

I’m writing, of course, about Brown’s Vader series. The first, entitled Darth Vader and Son ( I have to say I think Vader and Son would have been a stronger title), I’ve blogged about previously. It’s based on the premise that instead of not encountering Luke until he was an adult, Vader instead raised him on the Death Star.

The follow-up, Vader’s Little Princess, is the daughter-themed equivalent, with Vader experiencing all the love and enduring all the quirks that come with that gig.

The scenarios are recognisable to parents and non-parents alike, but given a peculiarly fantastic Star Wars-themed twist. Let’s be honest, these books are pretty much the best thing nerds and nerds who’ve become parents could ask for (and that’s not even including how much these books appeal to kids).

Some favourite Vader’s Little Princess moments include:

  • when Vader embarrassingly insists on dropping Leia right to the front door of school in an At At Walker rather than, as she requests, around the corner
  • a dad-and-new-boyfriend ‘bonding’ moment when Vader introduces Han Solo to a carbon freezing chamber
  • when Vader lectures Leia, dressed in the barely there outfit famous from the Jabba the Hutt scene, that she’s ‘not going out dressed like that’
  • when Leia pours her heart out about (and implores Vader to help dissect the meaning of) saying ‘I love you’ to Han Solo and all he said back was ‘I know’
  • and when Leia takes Vader to the ballet featuring—wait for it—Jar Jar Binks (it wouldn’t be a Star Wars spoof without a Jar Jar Binks joke).

Vader and SonI don’t find Vader’s Little Princess quite as entertaining as I do Vader and Son, although whether that’s because Brown understandably used up his best material in the first book or because the element of how-cool-is-this surprise was gone the second time around.

But I do find it great enough to warrant reading occasionally and recommending and gifting to friends more often than that.

I’m not sure if there’s room for a third book in the series—maybe a Vader as grandparent title?—but I truly hope so. In the interim, these two are going to remain my parents-and-kids gift-giving staple.

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7. Star Wars Stuff

Well, Episdoe VII is officially under way. Principal cast has been announced and shooting has started. As a life-long fan, I have much confidence in JJ. Contrary to many, I totally enjoyed what he did with Star Trek and thought Into Darkness was better than his first one. To me, it seems Mr. Abrams is a fan first and a businessman second. I hope that he makes my beloved universe his own, acknowledges the fans and makes something not only for kids, but also those of us who never really grew up.

Star Wars Weekends 2007

I have my hopes for what I would like to see in the new trilogy; characters like Mara Jade and events like the death of Chewbacca. Don't get me wrong - I don't want to see Chewbacca die. Jar Jar heads that list. Chewbacca's death was an epic moment and a great sacrifice. He swore a life-debt to Han and it should be a necessary moment, even if it does not occur as it did in the Expanded Universe novel.

The cast consists of a young group of relative unknowns. Sound familiar? Still, there is one Harry Potter alum, two from Coen Bros and one that endured Attack the Block. One of the biggest treats for me is to see Max Von Sydow join the ranks of Alec Guinness, Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee. In case you are not familiar with this legendary actor, he starred in the classic Strange Brew.

I could rant about how great the original trilogy was, everything wrong with the prequels and what they musn't ruin in the new movies. I won't do that. We all have our own opinions and own hopes. Isn't that what Star Wars is really about...hope? It is adventure, humor, mystery, love and good conquering evil. On top of all that, it gives us hope...hope that there is something bigger, greater out there - something that binds the universe together. It gives us hope that we can revisit our childhood and remember the things that made us happy.

Star Wars remains one of the earliest inspirations for my own writing. The Hero's Journey is a universal map that applies to my first novel, The Fourth Queen. I even tried my hand at some SW Fan Fiction (which might end up on this blog some day).


"They're for sale, if you want them."

As I continue my training in the Jedi way, I find that I can part with material things. To that end, I have created a Facebook album featuring over 300 figures collected since 1995. Feel free to make me an offer on any or all of them.



As always, thank you for reading my blog. 
Please be sure to visit me on FB: www.FB.com/MarkMillerAuthor




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8. Star Wars Interviews

Patrick Day of the Los Angeles Times interviewed me while on the road promoting The Battle for WondLa last week.

The interview focuses on the production of my upcoming picture book with Lucasfilm, STAR WARS: The Adventures of Luke Skywalker, Jedi Knight. You can read more here.

ForceCast_Logo

As well, I spoke with the fellas at TheForce.net on their weekly podcast, ForceCast. We had a great in-depth discussion about the legacy of these beloved films and the impact they’ve had on the 1970-80′s generation of kids. You can listen to the complete podcast here.

Lastly, while on tour I sat down with Corey McPherrin on Good Day Chicago to chat about WondLa, imagination and Star Wars. Take a look:

 

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9. Here is your guide to the Star Wars VII cast

201404291321.jpg

Over on FB Star Wars FINALLY announced the cast of Star Wars: Episode VII via a black and white photo of them sitting around director JJ Abrams. The ODC secretive Abrams had kept everything under wraps but since it’s beginning filming soon, they had to make an announcement. The photo is of a table reading for the new script with player old and new.

Actors John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, and Max von Sydow will join the original stars of the saga, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, and Kenny Baker in the new film.

Director J.J. Abrams says, “We are so excited to finally share the cast of Star Wars: Episode VII. It is both thrilling and surreal to watch the beloved original cast and these brilliant new performers come together to bring this world to life, once again. We start shooting in a couple of weeks, and everyone is doing their best to make the fans proud.”

Star Wars: Episode VII is being directed by J.J. Abrams from a screenplay by Lawrence Kasdan and Abrams. Kathleen Kennedy, J.J. Abrams, and Bryan Burk are producing, and John Williams returns as the composer

.
We’re excited to know that Abrams saw Inside Llewyn Davis, our favorite movie of 2013, with both Adam Driver and Oscar Isaac in the cast.

For a closer look:

201404291308.jpg
John Boyega is a Briitish actor who starred in Attack the Block.

201404291327.jpg
Daisy Ridley is so little known I could barely find any pictures of her! She’s English of course, and had supporting roles in several UK TV shows. She definitely fits the Keira Knightly/Natalie Portman role.

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Oscar Isaac was amazing in Inside Llewyn Davis which boosted his acting cred so you’ll be sick of him by the time Star Wars VII comes out.

adam_Driver.jpg
Adam Driver is the wacky boyfriend in Girls and in every other indie movie you see these days.

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Andy Serkis is the maestro of mocap so I doubt we’ll see his face.
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Domhnall Gleeson is Irish and was Bill Weasley in Harry Potter.
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Max von Sydow is a grand old man who gets to play old man roles. Jedi? New Dooku?

Please remember these faces so you recognize them when you see them at Star Wars Celebration XVIII.

I’m still not enthused for JJ Abrams take on Star Wars, but that is a great photo at the top, and I love how Harrison Ford got shotgun.

8 Comments on Here is your guide to the Star Wars VII cast, last added: 4/30/2014
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10. The Secret of the Fortune Wookie

The Secret of the Fortune Wookiee Tom Angleberger

It is a dark time at McQuarrie school--Dwight has transfered to Tippet Academy and taken Origami Yoda with him, leaving the kids at McQuarrie without his sage advice. Then Sara shows up with the Fortune Wookie, who's growls are translated into advice by Han Foldo. Dwight threw them down to her from his bedroom window, so Tommy and Kellan assume they're infused with some of the Origami Yoda's force. Still, they're on the case...

The Fortune Wookie gives good advice, but some of the truths the kids have face are painful. When investigating the Fortune Wookie, they stumble across another mystery--Dwight has turned totally normal. No more origami, no more weird sayings, totally and utterly normal (and kinda boring.) What gives?

Angleberger stays strong with this third installment of the Origami Yoda series. I'm a bit biased because I'm a total Han Solo girl and we get wonderful classic Solo lines sprinkled throughout the text. I also love that Sara gets full props and credit for knowing her Star Wars (the guys are all super impressed at her knowledge of minor characters. Also, she does an excellent Wookie growl.) AND AND AND AND AND! God bless Tom Angleberger for not giving the girl a Princess Leia origami. I mean, Princess Leia is AWESOME (how many diplomats do you know who can rock a blaster like that? PEW! PEW! PEW! PEW!) but Angleberger didn't give the girl and girl. It made my fangirl* heart swell to a new size.

I also really like how Darth Paper Strikes Back and Fortune Cookie stay funny while still tackling some big issues. I love how the McQuarrie kids accept Dwight as Dwight. And I"m very, very afraid for the next book. It's not as cliff hanger-y as Han being frozen and taken back to Jabba and Luke finding out that Vader is his father but... Dark times are coming. You may not be afraid but... you will be. You will be.

*as a fangirl of Star Wars and of Angleberger


Book Provided by... my local library

Links to Amazon are an affiliate link. You can help support Biblio File by purchasing any item (not just the one linked to!) through these links. Read my full disclosure statement.

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11. BREAKING: Disney Buys Lucasfilm, “Star Wars” Franchise for $4 Billion

It’s not April Fools’ Day. The Walt Disney Company is acquiring Lucasfilm and the Star Wars franchise for $4.05 billion. The press release:

Global leader in high-quality family entertainment agrees to acquire world-renowned Lucasfilm Ltd, including legendary STAR WARS franchise.

Acquisition continues Disney’s strategic focus on creating and monetizing the world’s best branded content, innovative technology and global growth to drive long-term shareholder value.

Lucasfilm to join company’s global portfolio of world class brands including Disney, ESPN, Pixar, Marvel and ABC.

STAR WARS: EPISODE 7 feature film targeted for release in 2015.

An investor conference call will take place at approximately 4:30 p.m. EDT / 1:30 p.m. PDT today, October 30, 2012. Details for the call are listed in the release.

BURBANK, Calif. & SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Continuing its strategy of delivering exceptional creative content to audiences around the world, The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) has agreed to acquire Lucasfilm Ltd. in a stock and cash transaction. Lucasfilm is 100% owned by Lucasfilm Chairman and Founder, George Lucas.

Under the terms of the agreement and based on the closing price of Disney stock on October 26, 2012, the transaction value is $4.05 billion, with Disney paying approximately half of the consideration in cash and issuing approximately 40 million shares at closing. The final consideration will be subject to customary post-closing balance sheet adjustments.

“Lucasfilm reflects the extraordinary passion, vision, and storytelling of its founder, George Lucas,” said Robert A. Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company. “This transaction combines a world-class portfolio of content including Star Wars, one of the greatest family entertainment franchises of all time, with Disney’s unique and unparalleled creativity across multiple platforms, businesses, and markets to generate sustained growth and drive significant long-term value.”

“For the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see Star Wars passed from one generation to the next,” said George Lucas, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Lucasfilm. “It’s now time for me to pass Star Wars on to a new generation of filmmakers. 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. I’m confident that with Lucasfilm under the leadership of Kathleen Kennedy, and having a new home within the Disney organization, Star Wars will certainly live on and flourish for many generations to come. Disney’s reach and experience give Lucasfilm the opportunity to blaze new trails in film, television, interactive media, theme parks, live entertainment, and consumer products.”

Under the deal, Disney will acquire ownership of Lucasfilm, a leader in entertainment, innovation and technology, including its massively popular and “evergreen” Star Wars franchise and its operating businesses in live action film production, consumer products, animation, visual effects, and audio post production. Disney will also acquire the substantial portfolio of cutting-edge entertainment technologies that have kept audiences enthralled for many years. Lucasfilm, headquartered in San Francisco, operates under the names Lucasfilm Ltd., LucasArts, Industrial Light & Magic, and Skywalker Sound, and the present intent is for Lucasfilm employees to remain in their current locations.

Kathleen Kennedy, current Co-Chairman of Lucasfilm, will become President of Lucasfilm, reporting to Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn. Additionally she will serve as the brand manager for Star Wars, working directly with Disney’s global lines of business to build, further integrate, and maximize the value of this global franchise. Ms. Kennedy will serve as executive producer on new Star Wars feature films, with George Lucas serving as creative consultant. Star Wars Episode 7 is targeted for release in 2015, with more feature films expected to continue the Star Wars saga and grow the franchise well into the future.

The acquisition combines two highly compatible family entertainment brands, and strengthens the long-standing beneficial relationship between them that already includes successful integration of Star Wars content into Disney theme parks in Anaheim, Orlando, Paris and Tokyo.

Driven by a tremendously talented creative team, Lucasfilm’s legendary Star Wars franchise has flourished for more than 35 years, and offers a virtually limitless universe of characters and stories to drive continued feature film releases and franchise growth over the long term. Star Wars resonates with consumers around the world and creates extensive opportunities for Disney to deliver the content across its diverse portfolio of businesses including movies, television, consumer products, games and theme parks. Star Wars feature films have earned a total of $4.4 billion in global box to date, and continued global demand has made Star Wars one of the world’s top product brands, and Lucasfilm a leading product licensor in the United States in 2011. The franchise provides a sustainable source of high quality, branded content with global appeal and is well suited for new business models including digital platforms, putting the acquisition in strong alignment with Disney’s strategic priorities for continued long-term growth.

The Lucasfilm acquisition follows Disney’s very successful acquisitions of Pixar and Marvel, which demonstrated the company’s unique ability to fully develop and expand the financial potential of high quality creative content with compelling characters and storytelling through the application of innovative technology and multiplatform distribution on a truly global basis to create maximum value. Adding Lucasfilm to Disney’s portfolio of world class brands significantly enhances the company’s ability to serve consumers with a broad variety of the world’s highest-quality content and to create additional long-term value for our shareholders.

The Boards of Directors of Disney and Lucasfilm have approved the transaction, which is subject to clearance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act, certain non-United States merger control regulations, and other customary closing conditions. The agreement has been approved by the sole shareholder of Lucasfilm.

Note: Additional information and comments from Robert A. Iger, chairman and CEO, The Walt Disney Company, and Jay Rasulo, senior executive vice president and CFO, The Walt Disney Company, regarding Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm, are attached.

Investor Conference Call:

An investor conference call will take place at approximately 4:30 p.m. EDT / 1:30 p.m. PDT today, October 30, 2012. To listen to the Webcast, turn your browser to http://thewaltdisneycompany.com/investors/events or dial in domestically at (888) 771-4371 or internationally at (847) 585-4405. For both dial-in numbers, the participant pass code is 33674546.

The discussion will be available via replay on the Disney Investor Relations website through November 13, 2012 at 5:00 PM EST/2:00 PM PST.

ROBERT A. IGER, CHAIRMAN AND CEO, THE WALT DISNEY COMPANY
REMARKS FOR ANALYSTS REGARDING DISNEY’S ACQUISITION OF LUCASFILM LTD., AS PREPARED

As we just announced, The Walt Disney Company has agreed to acquire Lucasfilm and its world class portfolio of creative content – including the legendary Star Wars franchise – along with all of its operating businesses, including Industrial Light & Magic and Skywalker Sound.

George Lucas is a visionary, an innovator and an epic storyteller – and he’s built a company at the intersection of entertainment and technology to bring some of the world’s most unforgettable characters and stories to screens across the galaxy. He’s entertained, inspired, and defined filmmaking for almost four decades and we’re incredibly honored that he has entrusted the future of that legacy to Disney.

Disney has had a great relationship with George that goes back a long way – with Star Wars theme attractions in our parks in Anaheim, Orlando, Paris and Tokyo. This acquisition builds on that foundation and combines two of the strongest family entertainment brands in the world. It makes sense, not just because of our brand compatibility and previous success together, but because Disney respects and understands – better than just about anyone else – the importance of iconic characters and what it takes to protect and leverage them effectively to drive growth and create value.

Lucasfilm fits perfectly with Disney’s strategic priorities. It is a sustainable source of branded, high quality creative content with tremendous global appeal that will benefit all of Disney’s business units and is incredibly well suited for new business models, including digital platforms. Adding the Lucasfilm IP to our existing Disney, Pixar and Marvel IP clearly enhances our ability to serve consumers, strengthening our competitive position — and we are confident we can earn a return on invested capital well in excess of our cost of capital.

Star Wars in particular is a strong global brand, and one of the greatest family entertainment franchises of all time, with hundreds of millions of fans around the globe. Its universe of more than 17,000 characters inhabiting several thousand planets spanning 20,000 years offers infinite inspiration and opportunities – and we’re already moving forward with plans to continue the epic Star Wars saga.

The last Star Wars movie release was 2005’s Revenge of the Sith – and we believe there’s substantial pent up demand. In 2015, we’re planning to release Star Wars Episode 7 – the first feature film under the “Disney-Lucasfilm” brand. That will be followed by Episodes 8 and 9 – and our long term plan is to release a new Star Wars feature film every two to three years. We’re very happy that George Lucas will be creative consultant on our new Star Wars films and that Kathleen Kennedy, the current Co-Chair of Lucasfilm, will executive produce. George handpicked Kathy earlier this year to lead Lucasfilm into the future. She’ll join Disney as President of Lucasfilm, reporting into Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn and integrating and building the Star Wars franchise across our company.

Our successful acquisitions of Pixar and Marvel prove Disney’s unique ability to grow brands and expand high-quality creative content to its fullest franchise potential and maximum value.

We’ve leveraged Pixar’s terrific characters and stories into franchises across our company – from feature films to consumer products online games, major attractions in our theme parks, and more.

The 2006 Pixar acquisition delivered more than great Pixar content — it also delivered the means to energize and revitalize the creative engine at Walt Disney Animation – which was crucial to our long term success. Animation is the heart and soul of Disney and our successful creative resurgence will be on full display this weekend when Wreck-It-Ralph opens in theaters across the country.

Our acquisition of Marvel three years later combined Marvel’s strong global brand and world-renowned library of characters with Disney’s creative skills, unparalleled global portfolio of entertainment properties, and an integrated business structure that maximizes the value of creative content across multiple platforms and territories. Our first two Marvel films – Thor and Captain America grossed a total of more than $800 million at the box office. This year, Marvel’s The Avengers grossed more than $1.5 billion to become the world’s third highest grossing movie of all time – and an important and lucrative franchise for us.

We’re looking forward to a robust slate of new Marvel movies – starting with Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World next year, followed by Captain America: The Winter Soldier in 2014. And, as we announced previously, Joss Whedon is writing and directing Avengers 2 and developing a Marvel-based series for ABC.

Pixar and Marvel both fit our criteria for strategic acquisitions – they add great IP that benefits multiple Disney businesses for years to come, and continue to create value well in excess of their purchase price. The acquisition of Lucasfilm is in keeping with this proven strategy for success and we expect it to create similar opportunity for Disney to drive long-term value for our shareholders.

We’re clearly excited about this move forward. We believe we can do great things with these amazing assets….we have a proven track record of maximizing the value of our strategic acquisitions…. and we’re poised to do the same with this one.


JAY RASULO, SENIOR EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT AND CFO, THE WALT DISNEY COMPANY
REMARKS FOR ANALYSTS REGARDING DISNEY’S ACQUISITION OF LUCASFILM LTD., AS PREPARED

Lucasfilm, and more specifically the Star Wars franchise, fits perfectly within the Disney portfolio of intellectual properties and the strategic and financial implications of this acquisition are compelling. Our team has spent a tremendous amount of time evaluating this deal and we have concluded we are uniquely positioned to maximize the value of Lucasfilm’s IP in a manner that can generate substantial value for our shareholders above and beyond the purchase price.

In this transaction we will acquire rights to the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises, a highly talented and expert team, Lucasfilm’s best-in-class post production businesses, Industrial Light and Magic and Skywalker Sound, and a suite of cutting edge entertainment technologies. Our valuation focused almost entirely on the financial potential of the Star Wars franchise, which we expect to provide us with a stream of storytelling opportunities for years to come delivered via all relevant platforms on a global basis.

There are a number of ways our company will derive value from Lucasfilm’s intellectual property—some of which can be realized immediately while others will accrue to us over time. George and his team have built Star Wars into one of the most successful and enduring family entertainment franchises in history, as well as one of the best selling licensed character merchandise brands in the U.S. and around the world. However, we believe there is great opportunity to further expand the consumer products business. Today, Star Wars is heavily skewed toward toys and North America. We see great opportunity domestically to extend the breadth and depth of the Star Wars franchise into other categories. We also plan to leverage Disney’s global consumer products organization to grow the Star Wars consumer products business internationally.

Let me note that in 2012 Lucasfilm’s consumer products business is expected to generate total licensing revenue that is comparable to the roughly $215 million in consumer products revenue Marvel generated in 2009, the year in which we announced our acquisition. With renewed film releases, and the support we can give the Star Wars property on our Disney-branded TV channels, we expect that business to grow substantially and profitably for many years to come.

We also expect to create significant value in the film business. We plan to release the first new Star Wars film in 2015, and then plan to release one film every two to three years. These films will be released and distributed as part of our target slate of 8-10 live-action films per year, and will augment Disney’s already strong creative pipeline for many years to come. Lucasfilm has not released a Star Wars film since Revenge of the Sith in 2005. However, adjusted for inflation, as well as growth in both international box office and 3D, we estimate the three most recent Star Wars films would have averaged about $1.5 billion in global box office in today’s dollars. This speaks to the franchise’s strength, global appeal and the great opportunity we have in the film business.

We also expect to utilize Star Wars in other businesses including Parks & Resorts, in games and in our television business. These initiatives were also considered in our valuation.

Under the terms of the agreement, Disney will buy Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion, consisting of approximately fifty percent cash and fifty percent in Disney stock. Based on Friday’s closing price of Disney stock, we expect to issue approximately 40 million Disney shares in this transaction. We continue to believe our shares are attractively priced at current levels and therefore, we currently intend to repurchase all of the shares issued within the next two years– and that’s in addition to what we planned to repurchase in the absence of the transaction.

Our valuation of Lucasfilm is roughly comparable to the value we placed on Marvel when we announced that acquisition in 2009. Our Lucasfilm valuation is almost entirely driven by the Star Wars franchise, so any success from other franchises would provide upside to our base case. I realize it may be a challenge for you to quantify our opportunity given the limited amount of publicly available information. But to give you some perspective on the size of the Lucasfilm business– in 2005, the year in which the most recent Star Wars film was released, Lucasfilm generated $550 million in operating income. We’ve taken a conservative approach in our valuation assumptions, including continued erosion of the home entertainment market, and we expect this acquisition to create value for our shareholders.

In terms of the impact on our financials, we expect the acquisition to be dilutive to our EPS by low single digit percentage points in fiscal 2013 and 2014 and become accretive to EPS in 2015.

Our capital allocation philosophy has been consistent since Bob took over as CEO. In addition to returning capital to shareholders, we have invested, both organically and through acquisitions, in high quality, branded content that can be seamlessly leveraged across our businesses. Our acquisition of Lucasfilm is entirely consistent with this strategy, and we’re incredibly excited by the prospect of building on Lucasfilm’s successful legacy to create significant value for our shareholders.

0 Comments on BREAKING: Disney Buys Lucasfilm, “Star Wars” Franchise for $4 Billion as of 10/30/2012 4:48:00 PM
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12. The Disney Purchase of Lucasfilm: What Does It Mean?

Disney’s $4.05 billion acquisition of Lucasfilm has generated more questions than answers. The Mouse has made it clear that they bought Lucasfilm for one thing, and one thing only: the Star Wars property.

But Lucasfilm’s business also includes other components such as Skywalker Sound and the visual effects studio Industrial Light and Magic (ILM). The fate of these entities remains unknown and will likely remain so for the foreseeable future.

For example, what to make of ILM’s promising start as a producer of animated features? Don’t forget that ILM’s first original film Rango won an Oscar earlier this year for Best Animated Feature. But Disney already owns its own feature animation studio as well as Pixar. It hardly needs a third studio, especially one that offers an original take on computer animation that could make the work of its other studios look formulaic by comparison. In other words, it’s a likely bet that ILM won’t be making any more animated features of its own.

However, ILM will likely continue creating the visual effects for the Star Wars films that Disney plans to start releasing in 2015. According to Variety:

On the Star Wars movies, Lucasfilm has long relied on having the resources of ILM inhouse to control vfx costs. A Lucasfilm spokesman said [Kathleen] Kennedy will continue to have autonomy to use ILM on future Star Wars films. However, that doesn’t guarantee that all work will be done in San Francisco. ILM has offices in Singapore and Vancouver and has alliances with companies in Beijing and Europe. It will continue to leverage those alliances and offshore locations to keep costs down.

And what about the visual effects work that ILM creates for other studio’s films? In his initial statements, Disney chairman-CEO Robert Iger gave a less than ringing endorsement of ILM’s business model.

The LA Times quoted Iger saying, “Our current thinking is that we would let it remain as is. They do great work. They do work for multiple studios. It’s been a decent business for Lucasfilm and one we have every intention of staying in.” The emphasis on the words ‘current’ and ‘decent’ are mine, and it’s not too difficult to read between the lines, especially when the NY Times added that Iger wants to “reap the value” it can from ILM.

History is not on ILM’s side either. In 1996, Disney acquired another respected visual effects studio DreamQuest. It merged it with its own in-house computer animation department and renamed it The Secret Lab. The Lab’s most notable effort was the feature film Dinoasur before the division was shuttered in 2002. It will be tougher to dismantle ILM, but there’s a good chance that Disney will explore some type of reorganization/merger/consolidation/sale of the studio in the coming years.

The same questions exist to a lesser degree for Lucasfilm’s storied gaming division, LucasArts. That division has struggled in recent years, as the LA Times reported:

LucasArts is currently operating without a permanent president and has not made a new game since 2010′s poorly received “Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II.” This year it announced a new title in the works, “Star Wars: 1313,” but because that game is intended to carry dark themes and be rated M (the video game equivalent of R), it may not fit into Disney’s intent to position “Star Wars” as a family entertainment brand.

Despite its recent missteps, LucasArts (and now Disney) owns a back catalog of beloved gaming classics like The Secret of Monkey Island, Grim Fandango, Full Throttle and Maniac Mansion. It’s hard to imagine what Disney will do with those titles, though Monkey Island creator Ron Gilbert tweeted a tongue-in-cheek suggestion earlier this week:

Finally, the question that many are asking is how George Lucas will spend his newly earned wealth. Lucas, who was already a billionaire before the sale, is now officially the wealthiest artist in the United States. Because he owned 100 percent of Lucasfilm, he will receive the entire $4 billion himself, roughly half in cash and the rest in Disney stock, turning him into Disney’s second-largest non-institutional shareholder with approximately 2.2% of the company.

It might be expected that Lucas would spend his money on silly douchebag toys—Lucas has reportedly spent millions on picture frames for his vintage European movie poster collection—but instead he plans to do something far more worthwhile with the bulk of his cash: philanthropy.

Education is a passion for Lucas, and he made a pledge in 2010 to dedicate the “majority of my wealth to improving education.” After this week’s sale to Disney, Lucas reiterated that goal. “As I start a new chapter in my life,” he said, “it is gratifying that I have the opportunity to devote more time and resources to philanthropy.” If he ends up following through on the pledge, this may end up being one of the few corporate mergers that has a happy ending after all.

0 Comments on The Disney Purchase of Lucasfilm: What Does It Mean? as of 11/2/2012 4:08:00 AM
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13. “Star Wars” Episode 7: NMA animates the Disney-Lucas Deal

It’s been a long time since we posted something from Taiwanese animation madhouse Next Media Animation (NMA) – but this warrants your undivided attention. It’s their take on the $4 billion dollar Disney/Lucasfilm deal – with humanoid Minnie Mouse strippers, Sith-like George Lucas, dancing Buzz Lightyears, Ronald McDonald… I have no idea what it means—but it’s a hoot:

0 Comments on “Star Wars” Episode 7: NMA animates the Disney-Lucas Deal as of 11/7/2012 8:34:00 AM
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14. Report: Star Wars comics going to Marvel in 2015

201212201054 Report: Star Wars comics going to Marvel in 2015
Well the other power converter has dropped, as respected Disney site Blue Sky Disney has some inside poop on the Star Wars comics license, which everyone assumed would be moving from Dark Horse to Marvel once Disney purchased Lucasfilm:

One of the things that many people wondered after Disney bought Lucasfilm was how long will this relationship continue? Especially since the Mouse owns Marvel, the largest comics publisher in the world. Well, it appears we now have the answer. The Suits in the know have determined that no new contracts will be given to Dark Horse after the current ones expire. So all new projects after 2013 will be handled internally by Marvel.

It’s not known yet if titles will be worked into the regular line up, or will Marvel create a special branch of the company that deals with Star Wars. It’ll take a couple of years for the old deals to work there course, but the stories that Dark Horse have coming down the pipeline will be the last. And you can expect anything new from Marvel dealing with Star Wars to arrive around 2015.


While totally expected, the move will still necessitate some changes at Dark Horse to plug the holes in their line—luckily they have some time to get things rolling and I’m sure they did the day the Disney deal was announced.

Meanwhile, what do you think of SECRET JEDI ACADEMY by Brian Bendis and Leinil Yu? What creators from Marvel’s lineup would you like to see on a Star Wars comic?

15 Comments on Report: Star Wars comics going to Marvel in 2015, last added: 12/20/2012
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15. Wrap This! Holiday Gift Guide 2012.

from the Christmas Quiet Book

Click a link to go directly to a post!

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16. Art Wall: Cubist Thing, them Mighty Morphin’ kids and Batman- lots of Batman

TweetHello and welcome! We are starting a weekly art thingy and have -rather thoughtfully- set it for Friday, that interminable day where the weekend is within touching distance and yet you still have to be at work. Hence, pretty and cool stuff that will help tide you over- forget words, just feast your eyes. This [...]

1 Comments on Art Wall: Cubist Thing, them Mighty Morphin’ kids and Batman- lots of Batman, last added: 2/10/2013
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17. If Pixar Made “Star Trek”…

After Pixarifying (is that a word?) the universes of Marvel/DC comics, Doctor Who and Star Wars, cartoonist Phil Postma has directed his attention toward the characters of Star Trek. In a post on his blog, Postma explains that he didn’t render any of the images:

“Yes, these are characters from Pixar films and it is just a photo mash-up of images I find on the Internet using Photoshop. No, they are not meant to be a caricature of the actors who played them. Rather a character from the Pixar universe that resembles in some small way the character I am doing. It is just a fun simple project I picked to help me learn more about Photoshop since I am far from an expert at it.”

Reimagining “X in the style of Y” isn’t necessarily a groundbreaking venture, but it’s a common creative exercise done by artists to help better perceive the design tropes of certain styles and studios. In that light, Postma’s exercises are fun to look at. Incidentally, the best reimagining by Postma has nothing to do with Pixar—it’s a Fleischer-ization of Spider-Man.

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18. Process: Jeffrey Brown’s Vader’s Little Princess

Following up on last year's bestselling Vader and Son, Jeffrey Brown is back this April with Vader's Little Princess a series of gags based on Vader as dad to little Leia, from toddler to teen. Art Director Steve Mockus has a process post on putting together the book's cover; since it covered an age range the idea wasn't immediately apparent.

0 Comments on Process: Jeffrey Brown’s Vader’s Little Princess as of 2/21/2013 3:07:00 AM
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19. How Disney Bought Lucasfilm

Good long-read in Businessweek about how Disney bought the Star Wars franchise and Lucasfilm. The article is short on major revelations, but contains some cute stories, like an overview of the meeting in which Disney CEO Robert Iger first asked George Lucas if he’d be interested in selling Lucasfilm:

In May 2011, Iger flew to Walt Disney World Resort in Florida for the opening of Star Tours: The Adventures Continue, an upgraded Star Wars ride offering patrons the illusion of traveling through space to visit planets like Tatooine. Lucas was deeply involved in the attraction, personally reviewing its progress every two weeks for several years.

On the morning of the Star Tours opening, Iger met Lucas for breakfast at the Hollywood Brown Derby, one of Disney World’s restaurants. It was closed for the occasion so the two men could speak freely. Fresh from his daily workout, Iger ordered a yogurt parfait. Lucas treated himself to one of the Brown Derby’s larger omelets. The two exchanged pleasantries. Then Iger inquired whether Lucas would ever consider selling his company. Lucas replied that he’d recently celebrated his 67th birthday and was starting to think seriously about retiring. So perhaps the sale of his company was inevitable. “I’m not ready to pursue that now,” he told Iger. “But when I am, I’d love to talk.”

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20. “Epic” Artist of the Day: Sang Jun Lee

Sangjun Lee

Continuing our week of looking at artists who worked on Epic, we focus on Sang Jun Lee.

Sangjun Lee

Sangjun Lee

Sang Jun has designed characters and concepts for many blockbuster movie franchises including Star Wars, Pirates of the Caribbean and Men In Black. After a stretch of working in California on these live-action films, he moved to New York to work on Blue Sky features such as Horton Hears a Who, Rio, and most recently, Epic.

Sangjun Lee

Sangjun Lee

Sangjun Lee

Sang Jun’s website has a generous amount of drawings and digital paintings to explore. He also keeps a blog here.

Sangjun Lee

Sangjun Lee

Sangjun Lee

Sangjun Lee

Sangjun Lee

Sangjun Lee

0 Comments on “Epic” Artist of the Day: Sang Jun Lee as of 5/21/2013 7:23:00 AM
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21. 2014 Is Shaping Up To Be The Year of Cartoon Crossovers

Considering that three crossover events have already been announced for next year, 2014 may just become the year of the cartoon mash-up.

With still three weeks left Phineas and Ferb join forces with Spider-Man, Iron Man, The Hulk and Thor in Phineas & Ferb: Mission Marvel, it was announced at Comic-Con that the angle-headed stepbrothers would star in an hour-long episode that relocates them to the desert planet of Tatooine, living next door to a popular sci-fi figure named Luke Skywalker. When plans for destroying the Death Star accidentally fall into their hands, they are recruited into the Galactic rebellion, and…well, you know the rest.

In addition, there have been recent announcements that The Simpsons will be rubbing shoulders with not just one, but two sets of their ‘toon contemporaries when they team-up with both Futurama and Family Guy. Serving as either The Simpsons season 25 finale (May 2014) or the season 26 premiere (fall 2014), Futurama’s Bender will travel back in time with the intention to kill Bart before his actions negatively affect the future. While a date to-be-determined The Family Guy episode will feature the Griffins becoming fast friends with Homer and his family after a road trip leads them to Springfield.

While these episodes are guaranteed to be fan pleasers, they would also appear to be carefully coordinated gambits for ratings. As less and less media companies own more and more entertainment properties, expect to see these kinds of crossovers with greater regularity in the future.

0 Comments on 2014 Is Shaping Up To Be The Year of Cartoon Crossovers as of 7/24/2013 10:48:00 AM
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22. StarWars: Jedi Academy, by Jeffrey Brown

I am a child of the 1970s, so of course I saw Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi in the movie theatres right when they came out.  What kid didn't?  I did not, however, keep up with the series and see the other movies.  As my neighbor Nick (14yo) always points out, "Stacy, why do you keep saying you saw the first three?  You really didn't, you know.  You saw Episodes 4, 5, and 6!".  Yes, I know.  I put this out there to let you know that even though I am not particularly well versed in the new/old Star Wars movies, I got a tremendous amount of enjoyment out of this graphic novel/ illustrated novel hybrid.

Roan Novachez has always known that he is "destined to attend Pilot Academy Middle School and become the GREATEST star pilot in the GALAXY." (p. 1)  But destiny seems to take a wrong turn for most of us in middle school, doesn't it?  Roan's friends all start receiving their acceptances to the academy, but his letter seems to be taking longer than everyone else's.  Instead of following his brother Dav's footsteps into the pilot life, Roan receives his rejection letter from the school.  He is devastated.

Soon, however, he receives a letter from the Jedi Academy.  Complete with a hand written note by Yoda himself, Roan is invited to attend the school even though most kids are accepted when they are toddlers and Roan himself didn't even apply.  It seems rather curious.

When Roan gets to the academy, he really feels like a fish out of water.  The other kids been there for a while, and they all seem to be able to use the force in controlled ways.  Roan is working on figuring out not only the force, but how to navigate the typical middle school things that all kids deal with no matter what planet they are from.  Things like dealing with bullies, figuring out where to sit in the cafeteria, opening his combination lock, and navigating a dance!  There are some things unique to Roan's situation as well - trying to understand what the heck Yoda is talking about, wielding a light saber, surviving a camping trip involving Wookies!

This is a fun and laugh-out-loud look into middle school that happens to be situated in a Star Wars culture.  Readers needn't be super well versed in Star Wars to enjoy Roan's adventures.  The cover will definitely attract younger readers, but I do think that the audience that will get the most enjoyment out of the story are 4th-6th graders who are wading into similar waters.

1 Comments on StarWars: Jedi Academy, by Jeffrey Brown, last added: 7/29/2013
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23. The Children’s Book Review’s Top Ten Hot Spots | September 2013

Here’s the scoop on the 10 most popular destinations on The Children’s Book Review ... Read the rest of this post

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24. Best Selling Middle Grade Books | March 2014

Our latest list of current popular middle grade books features Lego books and multiple Newbery award-winning titles. The hand selected titles from the nationwide best selling middle grade books, as listed by The New York Times, feature titles by super-talents Kate DiCamillo, Kevin Henkes, Katherine Applegate and R.J. Palacio.

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25. The Book Review Club - The Martian

The Martian
Andy Weir
Science Fiction - Adult

Pop quiz:
1) Do you ever stare at the night sky wondering if there is life out there?
2) Ever tried to levitate something with your mind?
3) Have you ever secretly (or not so secretly) watch Star Trek?

Houston, we have lift off. You like science fiction!

Science fiction has been fascinating readers from the moment Mary Shelley brought Frankenstein's monster to life. And writers of science fiction have been working to keep their edge ever since that first breath of life into their genre. Today, they're getting a little help from actual, real life physicists. Science fiction has become your basic rocket science.

How can this be? Some brilliant people at Tor had the great idea to pair up science fiction writers with NASA scientists. The result is a new list of science fiction titles, headed up by Andy Weir's, The Martian.

Basic premise: Robinson Crusoe on Mars.

More details: Mark Watney, a member of the Ares 3 Mars crew, accidentally gets left on Mars during the middle of a sandstorm. He has a habitat. He has oxygen and water. He has some food. But he doesn't have enough to last until the next Ares mission arrives. Cue creativity. How will Mark survive? Will NASA be able to help?

Weir's characters are wonderfully diverse and wickedly smart without being so smart they become inaccessible. The plot is scary believable. Accidents can happen, especially on a mission to a place as far away and foreign as Mars. The scientific does not way down the story, but rather, enhance it. Admittedly, there were moments when I did zone a little. Then again, that could have been the elliptical machine getting the better of me. I have books I "save" for work outs only. This was one. But I found myself sneaking more of The Martian whenever I could, like a secret stash of chocolate. And more than once that I had to remind myself this is NOT REAL. It's "just" a story (so stop crying!).

Tor has more books in the line up. One is about an elevator from earth to the international space station. Finally, a true fix for my science fiction addiction. I can't wait to see what they imagine up next. And...um...if it's not too much to ask, does anyone know how to get in the super secret society of writers who get to work with these amazing scientists?

For more April fling reads, check out Barrie Summy's website!


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