Disney Amps Up Star Wars Franchise Even Ahead of Movie Release

At about this time last year, 24/7 Wall St. hailed Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) as making one of the greatest purchases in its history by acquiring the Star Wars franchise from George Lucas. Originally when the transaction went down, we calculated the value of the franchise to be a whopping $30 billion over time. At the same time we made a prediction that Disney was about to kick it into high gear for the franchise.

With the date set for the release of the newest Star Wars movie, “The Force Awakens” as December 18, 2015, Disney is already planning an ambitious program prior to the release. It was revealed as “Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and it is set to appeal to a global audience.

Disney appears to have taken the words of Yoda seriously in this endeavor, “Do or do not. There is no try.” And the company appears to be going all out on this program.

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“The Journey to Star Wars” program of printed stories will include subtle hints and clues that will be only fully understood once the movie opens. Over 20 titles will be released globally in 36 countries by participating publishers. These titles will feature new narrative stories for middle grade and young adults, as well as comics, illustrated reference, Look and Find, and sticker book formats.

Novels for young adults, focusing on Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Princess Leia, will be published by Disney-Lucasfilm Press in North America and distributed internationally.

The young adult novels have notable talent attached, including:

  • Cecil Castellucci, known for “Boy Proof” and “Tin Star”
  • Greg Rucka, a New York Times bestselling author and known for his work with Detective Comics, Batman
  • Jason Fry, known for “The Clone Wars: Darth Maul: Shadow Conspiracy” and as a Star Wars Insider contributor
  • Claudia Gray, a New York Times bestselling author, known for “The Firebird” trilogy and “Evernight” series

Andrew Sugerman, executive vice president of Disney Publishing Worldwide, commented on the reveal:

We are thrilled to be developing content for fans of this epic saga across the globe. The robust publishing program will appeal to a range of fans — old and new — across all formats from comics to novels to apps, making this one of the most exciting and collaborative collection of stories that we’ve seen to date.

This might not seem like a stock moving event, and it alone is not. Still, it was recently shown in an analyst report that Disney shares would eclipse $100. That has already come about. Disney shares were up 0.6% at $103.67 Wednesday morning. The stock has a consensus analyst price target of $105.88 and a 52-week trading range of $76.31 to $106.64.

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