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Rumors Are Swirling That Kathleen Kennedy May Step Down as Lucasfilm President

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brian-mcgee - June 7, 2018

Lucasfilm's stock was probably at its lowest point around the time Disney snatched up the production house that birthed Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and countless other iconic pop culture properties. The Star Wars prequels were massive successes from a financial standpoint, but they had tarnished the franchise's legacy and made it seem, what's the word, unsophisticated. The company's cheap stunts like 3D re-releases of said prequels drove them to their lowest point since the late 80s.

Along came Disney, snatching up the company and handing over a check for four billion dollars to George Lucas. That purchase price also came with all of Lucas' various outlines, writings, and musings about a potential Star Wars sequel trilogy. Eventually, however, the only contribution from Lucas they actually heeded was the signing of Kathleen Kennedy as President of Lucasfilm.

Kennedy was a producer extraordinaire and Amblin co-founder, who had built a reputation as a solid, workhorse producer. Another crucial thing she had done was to build relationships with all of the best directors in genre filmmaking over the years by producing their films: Spielberg, Zemeckis, Fincher, Joe Dante, Richard Donner, the list goes on and on. She seemed an inspired choice, and rightfully got the lion's share of the credit for making The Force Awakens an absolute box office juggernaut.

Behind the scenes, however, things weren't as rosy. Kennedy had, rather than tapping her vast rolodex, looked for new and interesting directors to helm these films, and virtually all of those decisions ended up backfiring. Josh Trank, her choice to direct the Boba Fett movie, melted down on the set of Fant4stic and got canned before the film even went into pre-production. She fired Colin Trevorrow from Episode IX after finding his pitch for the film to be substandard. She phoned in a favor to Tony Gilroy to come in and rework the second half of Rogue One after Gareth Edwards delivered a film she wasn't fully pleased with. Most egregiously of all, she fired Phil Lord and Chris Miller from Solo more than halfway through filming, leading to a jumbled mess of a movie that is on the brink of becoming the first Star Wars movie to actually lose money.

According to Dork Side of the Force, a reliable source has indicated that Kennedy will be stepping down from her position at the end of this summer. While they directly link this news to the toxic fan culture, I don't really see this as a move in response to fan demand. Executives like Kennedy don't live in a world where any of that matters to them. Yes, the toxicity has reached epic proportions and that's a real problem, but in my mind, it's not the root problem here.

Kennedy's probably just sick of the long days on set, long days in meetings about future movies, long days in general. She and my mom are the same age and let me tell you, my mom has already had it with work, and she's a nurse. Imagine if she had the crushing responsibility of running something like Lucasfilm.

Bottom line, she's made missteps, but none of that matters. Star Wars is a license to print money and she helped raise its value substantially. Hopefully she gets some well deserved rest. God save whomever follows her in this job.



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