Kathleen Kennedy: ‘Star Wars: Episode 7′ Won’t Be Very Secret

Published 2 years ago by

Walt Disney Picture’s decision to buy Lucasfilm knocked the Internet’s collective socks off last year; however, the announcement that Kathleen Kennedy will usher in the new generation of Star Wars live-action movies, did not. After all, the eight-time Oscar-nominated producer has been instrumental to Steven Spielberg’s career for over three decades (going back to her days as an “associate” on 1941 and Raiders of the Lost Ark).

Kennedy proved her dedication to getting Star Wars: Episode VII right, after she devoted more than a month to simply buttering up J.J. Abrams (Star Trek Into Darkness) in order to secure him as director. The man prefers to keep fans out of the loop during production, be it on Cloverfield (which Abrams produced), both installments in the rebooted Star Trek continuity, or the sci-fi love letter Super 8; so, will the filming process for Episode VII be equally secretive?

Well, Screen Slam (hat tip to /Film) asked the Episode VII producer (and newly-appointed Lucasfilm president) that very question during an interview; Kennedy’s answer might surprise you:

“I think the whole issue of confidentiality is gonna be fascinating as we move into making the movie. If we’re shooting anything outside, it’s almost impossible to not have things end up on the Internet. So my feeling is, you need to embrace that, especially with the fans around something like Star Wars. You need to recognize they’re important to the process and acknowledge there are things you’re gonna want to make sure they get to know. So I think that’s something we’re going to monitor, pay attention to and think differently about.”

We’ve been able to document the filming process for major superhero blockbusters in recent years, thanks to the fans snapping photos and videos from the sidelines (which are then made available online). Directors Marc Webb and Bryan Singer are currently taking advantage of people’s interest in analyzing virtually every aspect of production on their forthcoming comic book movies, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and X-Men: Days of Future Past, by Tweeting various images from the set on a daily/weekly basis.

Star Wars Logo Art Kathleen Kennedy: Star Wars: Episode 7 Wont Be Very Secret

Hence, Kennedy is wise to recognize that embracing and, in fact, encouraging fans to be interested in watching principal photography on Star Wars: Episode VII unfold from a distance, is the way to go. It’s just too difficult to control and monitor the flow of information online – something Warner Bros. and Christopher Nolan learned the hard way while filming The Dark Knight Rises back in 2011 – and the sheer amount of Episode VII tie-in merchandise that will soon pour into stores, will make it even harder for Kennedy/Abrams to keep anything Star Wars related secret.

Besides, as Webb and Singer have realized, keeping your fans preoccupied actually helps to keep a lid on the really important elements of your film before they reach theaters; it also tempers the general public’s expectations for the final result to deliver mind-blowing surprises. That dangerous combination of too much buildup for a tentpole, coupled with not enough delivery to justify it all, is something that resulted in a pronounced fan backlash to Prometheus in 2012.

star trek2 Kathleen Kennedy: Star Wars: Episode 7 Wont Be Very Secret

Benedict Cumberbatch as ‘John Harrison’ in ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’

Abrams’ Star Trek Into Darkness could prompt something of a similar response – an issue that was raised during the ’2013 Summer Movie Preview’ episode on the Screen Rant Underground Podcast – if the truth about the film’s narrative and the mysterious antagonist (played by Benedict Cumberbatch) prove disappointing, coming after so many interviews and trailers that have propped them up as being something truly brilliant and unanticipated.

That shouldn’t really affect box office ticket sales but, if that happens, then fans will be more than happy to voice their displeasure online (just ask Into Darkness and Prometheus co-writer Damon Lindelof about that). So, all in all, Abrams stands to save himself more than a few headaches by yielding to Kennedy and not trying to keep everything about Episode VII a secret (not to mention, how George Lucas has already let one cat out of the bag well ahead of production starting).


Star Wars: Episode VII opens in theaters in Summer 2015.

Source: Screen Slam

Follow Sandy Schaefer on Twitter @feynmanguy
TAGS: Star wars
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  1. 2015 is going to be a VERY interesting summer.

    • The Avengers 2, Fantastic Four, justice league, star wars, Ant-Man, Finding Dory,

      BRING IT ON.

      • Im excited about finding dory. I loved fnding nemo

      • Catching Fire!

      • I don’t see Justice League coming out that year. Out of all movies you mentioned, even FF has been more active in pre-production than JLA. Plus, imho, I’d rather get the JLA movie later on if that’d mean a better quality, not a rushed movie. So either DC/Warner have managed to keep everything JLA in secrecy (casting, story, designs, production, etc) or they simply have no clue as to what they’ll be doing with it.

        • Bingo

    • i know right. I graduate in 2015! :D

  2. I have a bad feeling about this movie

    • Disney… They really screwed up the Marvel superhero universe too… That Avengers crap was garbage!

      • The Avengers was in production when Disney bought Marvel from Paramount. Disney didn’t do anything much to the movie beside distributing it. So, if The Avengers sucked (I didn’t think so), it was hardly Disney’s fault.

      • @ eddie

        Wow, The Avengers was garbage when it toppled Both of Nolan’s last two over-hyped Batman films. Statement like that coming from people like you, that’s cute because you have great imaginations!

        You wanna see real Garbage CBM, watch Green Lantern, or Jonah Hex that WB/DC putted out. Besides Batman/Superman films, they had no success with other heroes yet.

        • How on earth did the Avengers topple Nolan’s movies? The Dark Knight is a far superior film than anything Marvel/Disney have ever produced.

          I presume you’re not using box office return as an indication of how good a movie is? If thats the case we might as well all pack up and go home, because everybody, according to box office mojo, Transformers 2 is apparently better than The Godfather 2.

          • Avengers topped Nolans movies because it was a better all around pop corn flick, the Dark knight was ok, TDK Returns was awesome, but only because of Ledger, but the The Dark Right Rises was garbage and drowned under its own hype. Funny thing is, using your same logic, TDK Returns made less money than Rises and Rises was nowhere near as good as the second movie.

            • You got the film titles all wrong, man.

              • Oh, good, I thought I was going insaner. :-D

            • The Dark Knight Returns was never made by Christopher Nolan. If you are going to try to argue a point, at least know what you are talking about. And pop corn flicks are not good movies. They are mindless movies that have no meat.

        • I think Eddie was joking lol :)

    • Did you have the same bad feeling about The Phantom Menace… because that was a steaming pile of $hit of a movie. Yeah, hopefully your “bad feeling” isn’t THAT bad.

      • This is really funny, I come across you so-called Star Wars fanatics and ask you about Star Wars movie, and the only response I get is that the prequels sucked, I’ve asked for the reason why they sucked, and they just give me a blant, ignorant response which is “OT were better”. Prequels are the most underrated collection of Star Wars arc in the history of Star Wars.

        1)The acting wasn’t that bad and the plots were awesome. I really liked what they did in connecting the stories together as one plot and one story arc.

        2)The lightsaber battles were 1000000000000x’s better than the boring, plain-ass light saber battles in the Originals.

        3)Special effects

        4)Alien diversity. If there’s going to be a movie about outer space, it HAS to include various other life forms that have the same intelligence or better than the human.

        5)Action and war battle scenes were executed perfectly. I mean, at least the Prequels didnt make the storm troopers look like the robbing pedofiles of Home Alone.

        6)The acting was great. It provided the same mature and dark tone we all know and love in which was targeted to the loyal SW fans , yet ironically, those same fans call the same movie that was targeted toward them boring.

        It’s really funny how the so-called Star Wars geeks claim to love Star Wars, yet they dont love the cinematic saga itself.

        • 1)Yeah that pod racing Anakin plot was spectacular and totally necessary! Not.

          2)Visually, the light saber battles were an improvement I suppose.

          3)Jar Jar Binks… ’nuff said.

          4)You mean that overtly racist “alien diversity”? Not one of Lucas’ finer moments.

          5)They did okay with the battle scenes, but once again, Jar Jar and his race of whatever those were was still lame and a drag on the whole film.

          6)”The acting was great”?? Okay, you lose all credibility with that statement.

          So basically they got the light saber battles right. I’ve loved Star Wars for over 30 years, but I hate bad movies… and more often than not, the prequels were bad cinema. There were good points, especially in ROTS, but overall more bad than good. But then again, I may just be “blant”. What does “blant” mean again?

          • You made a statement and then used the word ‘NOT’ after it to indicate sarcasm, Wow, we’ve travelled back to about 1999

            • Well, that was the year The Phantom Menace came out ;)

          • What I love about you haters is that you seemed to have fallen asleep to all the good parts of the prequel saga (90% of the saga)and your only defense to all your hate is Jar Jar and young Anakin. Seriously, get real.

            • That was a full third of the trilogy so your math is a bit off.

              Read Jerry’s post… he summed up the flaws pretty well.

              Just for the record I am looking forward to the new movies. A much better director than Lucas should hopefully translate to a much better film.

        • Personally I thought the 1st one was ok but as you said the fight scenes were awesome.Jar Jar Binks was ok and isnt as funny as I thought of him when I was 7. To me it needed more lightsaber battles but thats just me.

          the second movie pretty much sucked for me because it was entirally a love story and I hate love stories. the only thing I liked was the fight scene at the end.

          to me the third movie was the best of the six, though I did enjoy the 5th and 6th movies.

          the acting was great for the scripts they were given. they could have been better but they also could have been worse.

          but like I said, its just me and we all hold our own opinions

        • It is entirely possible to love Star Wars in general and still dislike the prequel films. In particular, if you fell in love with Star Wars based on the original trilogy, which, good bad or indifferent, the prequels were a departure from.

          These things are ultimately subjective, but as far as specifics regarding the prequels, a lot of it has to do with horribly written dialoge, bad casting choices, very wooden, unnatural acting and/or directing, infantile humor, and a tendency to use scenes more as playgrounds for special effects than to meaningfully drive the story.

          Ian McDiarmid and Ewan McGregor were great, but Hayden Christensen and Natalie Portman were wrong both individually and as a couple. That was a significant flaw.

          Yes, the clones were more competent than the stormtroopers. But what about the battle droids? Did it make sense to have them speak English/Basic with ridiculous voices, and act like klutzes?

          The lightsaber battle point proves nothing, either way. I like all of them, in all of the films. There is more to drama than acrobatics.

          I think that the new films will at least be better than most of the prequels, because George Lucas is no longer involved, or at least no longer writing and directing it all himself. I have my misgivings about J.J. Abrams, but I think he will turn out a good product. If nothing else, the producers are aware that the original trilogy has a much higher approval rating than the prequel trilogy, and I expect that the aesthetics and style will benefit by being a return of sorts to the “classic” Star Wars.

          • I hated Episode 1 purely because it seemed to be more about the politics of the SW universe than actually building towards what we found out in Ep 6. They could’ve kept a lot of the High Council and other politics based stuff to a spin off book that only the truly dedicated fans would go out and buy because as a movie, it just didn’t do it for a lot of people.

            Episode 2…more action than the first but still managed to have boring scenes of dialog somehow.

            Episode 3 was the best of the trilogy but it still suffered from terrible acting, especially from Christensen and Portman.

          • Well said Jerry.

        • I do not appreciate the light saber fighting. Jedis promote this idea of being one with the force, but when they fight it expresses the exact opposite. it looks like nothing but passion and emotion…and twirling the blade around like a baton looks like a waste of “force.” The mass battles look like Star Craft battles and just as saturized. I do not love star wars, but I can explain why…Empire Strikes Back was the only one I really appreciated, but it need the other two episodes for buildup…it was once explained the first three episodes were made first because that’s when all the technology really existed and as time went on and the empire gained control, technology became less and less…i hope episode 7-9 do with less special effects and technology.

          • I’m guessing you haven’t practiced a martial art. It is about practicing a dicipline to the point where you not consciouly executing the movements but instead just acting and reacting. It becomes natural and automatic. That is what the lightsaber is for, a focus in which they give them over to the Force that guides there movements as they need.

        • @Prince Awesome.

          Actually, that what makes a fan a fan. Ability to be critical of a film. I rather have an honest fan who can criticize a film, then one who goes in and feed what is given then, despite the taste.

          The Prequels were over done with CGI, as if CGI has not ruined enough film. One thing about the Originals, the characters, the aliens had a sense of realism, and were not pixelated to the Nth degree.

          The problem with connecting the movies, we already knew who was who and who led to who and what happens to who. We already knew Anakin Skywalker became Darth Vader, and fathered Luke and Leia, went to capture them, we were shocked that Darth Vader was Lukes Father.

          The Prequels and with the rash of Canon in the Star Wars Universe, we already know the outcomes.

          So, any New Star Wars film will not surprise us.

          • I agree 100% with the CGI comment.

        • I can tell you why the prequels sucked. They are not necessary! If you watch all 6 movies in progression by the time you get to Vaders big reveal in Strikes Back, its no surprise, by having the first three films they totally negated Vaders revelation. In story telling and in film making this is a bad thing.

  3. so in other words we will know what the story plot of the movie is before it comes out…

    • That’ll happen when the trailer comes out. Which seems to happen with way too many movies these days. Or it could be like Ender’s game and give away like half the book in the synopsis alone.

    • You people won’t be happy with any direction they will go. They really can’t win with some of you pessimists.

      I’m guessing you are part of the 1% in MMO’s that complain about their games all the time, yet continue to play. I wish that trolls would realize that no-one cares about you.

      If you aren’t happy with the product, the best way to voice your lowsy attitude is by not consuming the product. This includes trolling message boards with your crummy hipster negative attitude.

      • im not a troll. Im usually happy with the way movies go but the way I was taking all of this was that we would know the entire story before the movie and trailers would come out. I usually like movies that arent based on books to be little more secretive than those who are based on the books nothing more.

        I love reading the articles on this site cause it gives me some insight on the upcoming movies.

        as for games I dont usually play unless its mario or Star Wars the force unleashed on the wii.

        I love star wars but I would like to be suprised with the plot but thats just me.

        I am giving you respect for your opinions as I would like some for me. Now when it comes to trolls I completely agree with you (trolls would never agree with that statement. Thanks for your time

      • Way off tangent.

    • You wrote it like it is a bad thing. I don’t think it is. Knowing the plot is not the same with watching the final product, it’s all about the execution. And who knows if there will be some twist we never expect?

      • yeah thats true i would like to see that, but i was taking it completely different than most would

    • in other words more people will be more invested in it…so seeing it will be icing on the cake. you get more for your money’s worth by being involved with the process.

    • Well yeah! It’s because all the things that made the first three movies great has been analyzed into social science! Don’t believe me then where have you been?

  4. Excellent answer by Kathleen. Also, she’s a titan in the industry, and fellow SW fans should be happy that she’s now runnig LucasFilm.

  5. I can see how some folks may take a statement like this the wrong way but the way I interpret it is that we can expect something along the lines of TAS2 and XM:DOFP like Sandy says in the article.
    Also, Abrams and Kennedy could do something like we’ve seen Peter Jackson do with TLotR and The Hobbit. As a movie geek that loves watching behind the scenes footage I look forward to the updates Jackson provides. So how great would that be for Star Wars? Amazing IMO.

  6. There was “pronounced fan backlash” for Prometheus? I thought it was brilliant..

    • I joined that backlash. “Prometheus” was not up to par in the script dept, which ruined the rest for me. Sometimes that’s what you get for expecting something to be good, Instead you get a smack in the face.

      I’m Glad “Prometheus” has it’s fans though.

    • I think we may be the only ones… I really liked that movie too.

      Of course I didn’t go into it with any preconceived notions, I saw it as it’s own thing that was taking place in the same universe.

      • I liked up til the Xenomorph at the end. I think they should of waited til a sequel to use them.

        • I think it gives them the chance to come up with something even crazier in the sequel.

          • I loved Prometheus too. Never understood the backlash against it.

            • Most point to the crazy WTF moments in ‘Prometheus’ like they never existed in ‘Alien’ or ‘Aliens’ BUT they do! People just forgive them better.

  7. I simply cannot gauge if these new “Star Wars” films are gonna be any good. I saw how bad Star Wars could get and I know however bad they could be they’ll still make sheetloads of money.

    The potemtial is there, it just needs all the right elements pulling together. (But that could be said of every film.)

  8. I think Kennedy and Disney will do an awesome job. I can’t wait for these new movies!!! Star Wars is Forever!!

  9. Guess that puts Super Shadow out of a job.

    • Super Shadow knows before they know…

      • He’s like, the Clouseau of Star Wars spoilers. Only with less dignity. ;)

  10. It wasn’t a backlash for Prometheus, just criticism of a really messy film that tried too hard to insert religious symbolism into itself for no real reason.

    As for SWVII (BTW #9 will be SWIX, which is kind of neat), anyway SWVII, despite the director (and a lack of GL), I think most people will have fairly low expectations after we all got our panties wet for SWI – Return of The Tax Forms, or whatever it was.

    I’ve never been that interested in the creepy stalker shots of principle photography taken by ‘fans’ and posted online. I like cake but I don’t want to see inside a cake factory.

    Some people clearly have even more time on their hands and less in their heads than I do.

    • The religious stuff had to be in there though because it seemed to be based a little on the Ancient Astronaut theory.

  11. I don’t care. I vowed to never again watch another JJ movie after I WASTED my hard earned money on the piece of garbage Cloverfield. And all these years later, I’ve kept my word. However, this movie might the exception. However, I wont be paying for it. I will either sneak into a theater, or download it online. But JJ will NEVER get another penny of mine.

    • Cloverfield is one of my fave movies. What didn’t you like about it?

      For some reason, most complaints seemed to be about the shaky camera but my answer to that has always been “so, none of you have ever filmed with a video camera and not been completely still then?”. I had no issue with it, didn’t experience nausea watching and never found it hard to follow what was going on so I just assumed a lot of it was just made up outrage just to hate on something different and entertaining.

      • I paid full ticket price to see a monster. Spoiler alert: you see the monster for all of 10 seconds the entire movie. So basically I spent $12 to see a monster for 10 seconds. Or about $1.20 a second. I had to sneak into two other movies that day just to get my money’s worth. And I hate that my Hard earned money went into that sh*tty filmmaker’s pocket.

  12. Prometheus was awesome, Pure Sci-fi, Cant understand where all the hate came from, I hope they make a second..

  13. Is it really necessary to make a new SW film? Leave the franchise alone create something new.

    • Unfortunately brand recognition trumps originality… :(

  14. Unless the marketing stumbles when promoting the film, I could see Episode VII breaking the top five in the gross box office results. Possibly even displacing ‘The Avengers’ for the bronze.

  15. Well, with Super 8, Cloverfield, and Star Trek: Into Darkness, the silence is explainable as these movies all had their mysteries and even kept the audience wondering all the way through the movies. Prometheus had no real mystery, we all knew the Aliens were gonna come out and breed because we all knew what it was. But as far as listening to the fan base goes: I’d be very picky about that, as fans typically want the world, and others want to see their favorites kick ass, while the haters are gonna hate. Look at Star Wars The Old Republic MMO, fans wanted this and that, and the company was happy to oblige. Today, it stands as a f2p failure of a game. So once again, they should be picky about what the fans want and don’t want.

    • The Problem with Prometheus to Some, is they were thinking Aliens. Now Prometheus did manage to put in one thing to keep the countinity, there were more than one ship and they put the two planets in the same region of space, a few sectors apart

      LV-223 where Prometheus lands and LV-426 Where Nostromo encounters another “Space Jockey”

      No people got bent out of shape over the Alien at the end, but that is not the Xenomorph. So there is still LV-426 to find and lead up to Nostromo.

  16. You’re forgetting that Star Wars, at least the more recent films, are far more CGI than the Batman franchise. I don’t know how they’ll do this one, but I imagine it having a lot of CGI too, so I believe the amount of outdoor shootings will be limited.

  17. While watching the latest trailer for ‘Into Darkness’ I slowly payed attention to just how much the whole thing looks like ‘Star Wars’ it really does. It’s then how much it hit home, the realization that they will definitely be homogenized properties by the time J.J. gets done with them. I know some will like that and others will deny it but it just seems a little sad to me that it’s going to turn out like that. You won’t see The Force in Star Trek but don’t be surprised if you can’t point to something in the whole of the J.J. Trek films and say that substitutes for it by the end of a third film…

    • @Old Man.

      I actually can look at Star Wars and say how much it reminds me of Lost and Space and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea.

      Star Wars was first of its kind to put a Space Opera on the big screen.

      • “Star Wars was first of its kind to put a Space Opera on the big screen.”

        No I think that distinction Jeff goes to ‘Buck Rogers’ and ‘Flash Gordon’ in the 30′s and 40′s.
        Just remember I said few will want to see…

        • @The Old Man.

          I see your point about Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon, but were you referring to the serials or the couple of movies.

          Ah. The old Buster Crabbe played both titular characters.

  18. The only difference between the new Star Wars from the Previous 6. If you like or loved either group of movies, this is what killed the prequels. No one to tell George this is flat out stupid or is an insult. Jar Jar Binks, was a total travesty. Let’s face the truth, Without A Studio funding or backing Star Wars, there was no one to tell George what not to do.

    JJ Abrams is a good director, but his track record is hit and miss. I loved Star Trek, I loved Cloverfield, but Cloverfield left me a little bit of a headache, the found footage angle was a pain. Super 8 was, well..er…ummm Close Encounters meets Cloverfield Meets Stand By Me. Was trying to be three different types of movie, and though somewhat a good movie, it was a bit of a let down.

    Alias TV Series, Good for the first 3 seasons and then….WTF
    Lost TV Series…Good for the first 2 seasons and then Mega WTF!
    Fringe TV Series..Good First 2 seasons and then…and then….and then….I give up.

    So, as good as JJ Abrams has been, he has had his moments of WTF. Now with the Biggest Franchise in his History, unlike Star Trek, where fans were clamoring for a decent Star Trek movies, Star Wars fans have been waiting for a proper Star Wars movies. This time, he has a Studio that wants him to improve Star Wars where as Paramount gave him free range to revive Star Trek, Disney is not going to give to him, what Joss got with The Avengers.

    Star Wars is going to be on the same lines and tones as Marvel Movies, and that is something we are going to have to live with.

  19. “Star Wars” and “Star Trek” have been around for a little too long. Even though I a massive fan of the “Star Trek” franchise, I think it has overstayed its overall welcome. After I started to read other types of science-fiction novels, I began to realize that “Star Wars” and “Star Trek” are not the best from the genera. They are just in the way.

    • Fixed: Even though I am a…

  20. Not exactly sure if there is a high demand for over-the-top acting now. It’s been 8 years since ROTS and although Star Wars is beloved by many in this day in age, I don’t think this will be taken in well by the general audience.

    The fact that they plan on throwing out one film per year, whether it be a spin-off or an episode, really doesn’t give me any hopes on this revival. Financially it well do well, but content wise…I’m doubting every shred of it.

    I trust Abrams though, he was the guy who actually got me to enjoy a version of Star Trek.

    We’ll see

  21. I don’t give a sh*t about silly super hero movies. Star Wars trumps them all! Bring on Episode VII and the rest…

  22. Certainly the authentic nike jerseys will be depending on Lynch for majority
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  23. There is nothing you can make which is a secret except the plot details. With the exposure of behind the scenes from plenty of films , many now understand or conceptualize the basic process behind making films. Also it would be nice to go with the making of the films , and have regular blogs similar to what Peter Jackson did with the Hobbit and King Kong – So that fans can keep on apprehending every time