Surely you’ve heard the news: we reported it here yesterdayStar Wars: Rogue Squadron, from Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins, is officially shelved. So too is the proposed Kevin Feige film. Taika Waititi’s planned project is still in the works, but when we’ll see it, or what it will entail, remains a mystery. The recent bombshell report from Lucasfilm sadly came as little surprise. The Star Wars film franchise is undoubtedly in disarray, and one need look no further than 2017’s The Last Jedi to know why…. And no one else to blame but Kathleen Kennedy and Rian Johnson.

Skywalker Saga; The Rise of Skwalker; The Last Jedi; Star wars film; Rian Johnson; Kathleen Kennedy
Was this truly the sunset on the Star Wars film franchise? (Image: Lucasfilm Ltd.)

Lucasfilm’s Disney debut got off to a rocky start when new president Kathleen Kennedy made the executive decision to cancel The Clone Wars. Still, it’s replacement, Star Wars: Rebels, became a fan-favorite in its own right. The Force Awakens was a solid start to the Star Wars film franchise restart, too. Rogue One is now widely regarded as one of the best films in the entire franchise. All that promise, however, evaporated with the decision to name Rian Johnson as director of The Last Jedi.  Like it or hate it, Episode VIII fractured the fan base, and the Star Wars film franchise.

How Rian Johnson and Kathleen Kennedy derailed the Star Wars film franchise

Star Wars Big Screen Break
CHICAGO, IL – APRIL 12: (L-R) Moderator Stephen Colbert, Director J.J. Abrams, Producer Kathleen Kennedy, Anthony Daniels (C-3PO), Billy Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian), Daisy Ridley (Rey), John Boyega (Finn), Oscar Isaac (Poe Dameron), Kelly Marie Tran (Rose Tico), Joonas Suotamo (Chewbacca) and Naomi Ackie (Jannah) onstage during “The Rise of Skywalker” panel at the Star Wars Celebration at McCormick Place Convention Center on April 12, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images for Disney )

The decisions surrounding The Last Jedi and those made thereafter sent the Star Wars film franchise into a downward spiral. Rian Johnson opted (inexplicably) to depart from the overall story arc of the sequel trilogy. His treatment of Star Wars Lore, and the character of Luke Skywalker, specifically, left a sour taste in many fans’ mouths.  That film immediately put Kathleen Kennedy and Lucasfilm in damage-control mode. Perhaps in an effort to make fans forget about TLJ, they rushed to push Solo: A Star Wars Story into theaters just five months later. We all know how that turned out.

Spiraling now, the attempts to right the wrongs of the two proceeding years did not go as planned. The result? A rushed and bloated The Rise of Skywalker arriving in December of 2019. The film tried to do too much to rectify the sins of the past, and got lost in itself as a result. That was already four years ago. Now, the Star wars film franchise sits in shambles, directionless. The next film isn’t slated to arrive until December, 2025, and even that remains a question.

Taika Waititi Star Wars
Taika Waititi records dialogue for IG-11 in Season 1 of The Mandalorian. (Image: Jon Favreau/Instagram)

What’s Next?

Thanks to what transpired with Rian Johnson, Kathleen Kennedy really had no choice but to put a full stop on the Star Wars film franchise. There is too much to make up for, and fan critique of any new film project will be at an all-time high…. And we’re talking about a franchise that’s existed for nearly half a century. To say that there is a lot riding on the next, major Star Wars motion picture, is perhaps the understatement of the year.

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