Is it Time For Kathleen Kennedy to Step Down?

I saw on HAL 9000’s Star Wars channel that there have been some rumors circulating that Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy will step down this fall. I have no idea if these rumors have any validity, but all I can really offer is my opinion. It seems like Kennedy’s creditability has taken a dive in the last 6 months. Thanks to backlash surrounding The Last Jedi and how the incredibly disappointing box office from Solo: A Star Wars Story.

I saw this video this morning. Most times I don’t pay any attention to these assholes, because they are mostly just offering their opinion and for some reason people take it as fact even though they have no more connections in the entertainment industry than we do. Still, I think this guy makes some good points. Even though this is just a video with a “hot take” designed to get clicks. Still, this guy and I have a similar opinion of the 4 Disney/Lucasfilm movies so far. I at least enjoyed all 4 of them. I absolutely love The Force Awakens and Rogue One strengthens every time I see it. Unfortunately the flaws in The Last Jedi become more and more noticeable with each viewing. I liked Solo a lot, but who knows what my stance will be on it after its release and I see it 5-6 more times.

If you talked to me right after I walked out of The Last Jedi on December 14th of last year I would have told you that I thought her work had been almost flawless to this point. The Force Awakens reintroduced everybody to the property and made massive amounts of money. Rogue One had some drama behind the scenes but she was able to do what she needed to do to deliver a solid movie on day of release and I viewed The Last Jedi as a stronger movie than The Force Awakens at the time. I’ll still argue that the last hour of the movie is as good as any Star Wars movie ever.

Now, its not so clear. Solo is probably going to be the first Star Wars movie to fail to make a profit, which is hard to believe. It failed despite being a pretty good movie. I haven’t heard a lot of complaints about it.

Kathleen Kennedy is one of the most qualified and successful super producers of all time. She’s had her hands of dozens of huge movies that don’t have the Star Wars name on them. Here’s a short list.

  • E.T.
  • The Goonies
  • Back to the Future trilogy
  • Jurassic Park
  • Schindler’s List
  • Twister (maybe not a great movie now, but a huge money maker in its day.)
  • The Sixth Sense

Her career includes 8 Oscar nominations. That resume makes her more than qualified for handling Lucasfilm. She was hired as recommended by George Lucas himself. In terms of producer, she deserves to be considered a legend.

Prior to Solo I would’ve praised Kathleen Kennedy for doing what needed to be done to get good movies made. She fired Lord and Miller because it sounded like it needed to be done. Unfortunately it looks like she did it a little too late and the whole movie was essential filmed twice and the production problems may be the nail in Solo’s coffin. Its possible that the box office story would be a bit disappointing still, but if she hired Ron Howard from the start and didn’t have render all the Lord and Miller stuff useless she could possibly turned a bit of a profit for Lucasfilm.

If she does decide to step down, and regardless of what she chooses I don’t really care, I have no idea of who would be a reasonable replacement. If you asked me in November I would’ve said that Rian Johnson would eventually be in control of Lucasfilm. Prior to the release of The Last Jedi Lucasfilm essentially handed him the keys to the city. Now I don’t think putting Johnson in charge is an option because so many people had issues with The Last Jedi. Regardless of my thoughts on The Last Jedi (which I still really like) I’m really excited to see what will happen in Johnson’s new movies and getting the chance to work with characters that are his own creation are probably only going to work out better for him. I’d be happy to see Dave Filoni get a chance, but it would be a really bold move considering he’s only been involved in the television side of things. JJ Abrams would be a suitable choice too, he’s probably a better producer than he is a director, but I wouldn’t throw away all the other cool projects he could do and just focus on Star Wars for the rest of his career.

Again, if Kennedy leaves I really don’t mind. If they still continue to hire creative director and great talent to handle these movies I’ll never be upset. I’ve been thinking about Star Wars a lot lately and tried to lose my entitlement about these films. I’d like to think that I’m far less toxic than some of the other fans out there. Does it really make sense for Lucasfilm to make movies for their fan base of 35-60 year old men? I don’t think it really does. As far as I’m concerned we’ve already gotten our Star Wars, whether it was the original trilogy or the prequels. These movies are for the next generation. George Lucas has always said that Star Wars was a film for 12 year olds and has that ever really changed?

I realized that the fact that we are getting new Star Wars films right now and I’ve enjoyed them is just a bonus for me. I don’t think its fair for the middle aged fans to complain like Lucasfilm is obligated to cater to their needs. These films are for kids and they always were for kids. Star Wars doesn’t survive that way. When we die, so does the franchise. There is no guarantee that I’m going to like Rian Johnson’s trilogy or the series from the Game of Thrones guys. Still, that doesn’t mean it won’t mean the world to some other kids in the way the original trilogy does to me.

A day will come where Disney and Lucasfilm release a Star Wars film that I don’t like. In a world where films are released every year its bound to happen. I’d like to think that I’ll be smart enough to just move on. Its unrealistic to think that they can please everybody. I’ve already gotten 10 Star Wars movies (I at least really like 8 of them) and I can go back and watch them any time I like. I’d like to think that I’ll continue to focus on what I do like about Star Wars rather than the stuff I don’t

If Kathleen does decide to step down its fine. I don’t really think she has any more to prove. There is probably someone out there that could possibly limit the issues coming out of the Lucasfilm camp. I think it makes more sense for Kennedy to hang around until after the completion of Episode IX. Then she completes her trilogy and we can get some new blood in for the fresh stuff coming from Rian Johnson and Benioff and Weiss.

Is it time for Kathleen Kennedy to move on? Or has she really done irreplaceable damage?