Bloomberg Businessweek has an extended account of how Disney made the deal to purchase Lucasfilm and its Star Wars franchise. They spoke to George Lucas about the timeline of the negotiations and his retirement plans, and then, on the fifth page, Lucas let the cat out of the bag.
Asked whether members of the original Star Wars cast will appear in Episode VII and if he called them before the deal closed to keep them informed, Lucas says, “We had already signed Mark and Carrie and Harrison—or we were pretty much in final stages of negotiation. So I called them to say, ‘Look, this is what’s going on.’ ” He pauses. “Maybe I’m not supposed to say that. I think they want to announce that with some big whoop-de-do, but we were negotiating with them.” Then he adds: “I won’t say whether the negotiations were successful or not.”
So when Lucas announced a few years ago that he was finished with Star Wars movies, he wasn't exactly finished with Star Wars movies. Maybe now, with $4 billion, he can afford to retire. Link -via USA Today
PS: A statement from Lucasfilm said:
Even though there are a few reports out there about casting for Episode VII, we are not making any announcements at this time. As Yoda said, "Always in motion is the future."