Reports of Kathleen Kennedy’s demise as head of Lucasfilm were a bit premature.
Borys Kit of The Hollywood Reporter posted that Kennedy has received a three-year extension as president of
Kit wrote today:
Kathleen Kennedy has reignited her lightsaber. The lead producer and architect of the Star Wars franchise
Many online have expressed (or will express) more than a modicum of surprise at this re-signing of Kennedy, based on the backlash from certain corners of fandom of Star Wars: Episode VIII and the downturn in box office receipts of Solo: A Star Wars Story.
I made the timing decision, and as I look back, I think the mistake that I made — I take the blame — was a little too much, too fast. You can expect some slowdown, but that doesn’t mean we’re not going to make films. J.J. [Abrams] is busy making [Episode] IX. We have creative entities, including [Game of Thrones creators David] Benioff and [D.B.] Weiss, who are developing sagas of their own, which we haven’t been specific about. And we are just at the point where we’re going to start making decisions about what comes next after J.J.’s. But I think we’re going to be a little bit more careful about volume and timing. And the buck stops here on that.
That quote seems to telegraph today’s move. But Kennedy’s recent role in Star Wars can not, and must not, be minimized.
“Kennedy’s position is one of the most visible, and her actions the most highly scrutinized, in Hollywood due to the immense popularity of Lucasfilm’s franchises, which also include Indiana Jones,” added Kit. “The move is a vote of confidence in Kennedy, who took command of Lucasfilm after Disney’s $4 billion acquisition from George Lucas in 2012 and has overseen the relaunch of Star Wars, one of the most revered movie properties in cinematic history. Disney’s four new Star Wars films have grossed almost $4.5 billion at the worldwide box office. Ancillary and merchandising have brought billions more into the studio’s coffers.”
Kit said those in the know believe that Star Wars, under Kennedy, will turn its sights on the small screen in the short run.
Sources say that the near future of Star Wars lies in television with Kennedy-led Lucasfilm planning on expanding the universe with new characters in that medium. The shows at this stage include a live-action series run by Jon Favreau (which is currently casting) and the animated Star Wars: The Clone Wars, both of which will air on Disney’s untitled streaming service, which is set to launch in the second half of 2019. Meanwhile, another animated series, Star Wars Resistance, premieres this month on The Disney Channel.
Meanwhile, Kennedy is set to receive an honorary Academy Award later this year. The Lucasfilm chief will be honored with the Irving G. Thalberg award for a body of work that “reflects a consistently high quality of motion picture production.”
It’s pretty clear the new contract honors that body of work, too.