Is the Star Wars film franchise at a crossroads? It certainly seems so after recent news coming out of Disney. Much like Chancellor Valorum was the subject of a vote of no confidence, Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy appears to find herself in a similar position. Following 2016’s Rogue One, the feature films have been an unmitigated disaster. Financially successful? Certainly, but critically successful? That’s a stretch. (Even a court declared otherwise.) The direction of the film side of the franchise has fallen into such disarray now that there will be at least a six-year gap between The Rise of Skywalker and the next feature-length movie. Disney appears to placing that squarely on Kennedy’s shoulders.
Kennedy’s tenure at Lucasfilm started off strong. The Force Awakens, though steeped in the nostalgia of rehashed plot lines, was nevertheless well-received. Rogue One is widely regarded as one of the best Star Wars films of the entire franchise. It all went off the rails when Kathleen Kennedy chose Rian Johnson to write and direct The Last Jedi. His departure from lore, and from the planned sequel trilogy story arc, was the catalyst for a downward spiral from which the film franchise still hasn’t recovered. Now two films (Patty Jenkin’s Rogue Squadron and Taika Waititi’s unnamed film) are back on the shelf. So upset with the failure to produce a quality film, it seems, Disney CEO Bob Chapek has now forbidden Kennedy from announcing any further films until they are “set in stone.”
Kathleen Kennedy: A Star Wars film disaster?
On paper, the failure of the Star Wars film franchise under Kathleen Kennedy is inexplicable. This is a woman responsible for producing Raiders of the Lost Ark, after all. Her resume, until Lucasfilm, at least, was impeccable. So what happened? Poor choices, obviously, but the question is why she made those choices in the first place. From Johnson’s Last Jedi, to the bungling of Solo: A Star Wars Story, to the bloated Rise of Skywalker‘s attempt to reconcile the sequel trilogy, the acclaimed producer can’t seem to get out of her own way. As much as everything has, for the most part, gone exceptionally well with Star Wars television, it’s gone egregiously wrong when it comes to the feature films.
Fans have been clamoring for Dave Filoni to take over the franchise since George Lucas sold Lucasfilm to Disney. He, of course, is the mastermind behind The Clone Wars, some of the best storytelling in the entire franchise. Today’s release of Tales of the Jedi further proves his mastery of Star Wars. Would Filoni replacing Kathleen Kennedy atop the Star Wars food chain right the ship with respect to the film franchise? It certainly couldn’t hurt. Or can Kennedy pull out a win with the next film? The problem is that we won’t know… not for another three, long years, at least.
What are your thoughts? Is it finally time for Kennedy to go?