The latest Star Wars rumors imply Disney is struggling to find a replacement for Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy. To say it's been an interesting time for the galaxy far, far away recently would be an understatement. Just six months after The Last Jedi divided the fandom down the middle, Solo became the first Star Wars installment to lose money. In the aftermath of all that, the studio is reportedly putting other planned spinoffs on hold, raising questions about the franchise's future as they approach the post-Episode IX world.
At the center of this is Kennedy, who took over Lucasfilm when George Lucas sold his company to the Mouse House. Despite being one of the most successful producers in history, Kennedy has drawn the ire of some viewers who are displeased with the current direction of the property and want to see some changes. Earlier this month, there was speculation suggesting Kennedy was looking to step down, but the latest implies Disney is keen on moving on from her.
This information comes from Beyond the Trailer's Grace Randolph, who's heard Disney CEO Bob Iger is interested in replacing Kennedy, but he cannot find anybody for the job. Allegedly, J.J. Abrams (the only candidate Randolph mentions) was offered the position, but he definitively turned it down, as have others. The reason why this is so challenging for Iger is because Lucasfilm apparently is a house divided (Kennedy loyalists vs. those who predate Kennedy) similar to the fan base, and nobody wants to step into a situation like that.
It is highly important for viewers to take this all with a grain of salt, as it's just a rumor. Star Wars is in a place where some things (namely marketing strategies and release dates) need to be reevaluated, but they likely aren't going to make any drastic moves at this point in time. Firing Kennedy or outright canceling projects would be tremendous overreactions to one movie flopping at the box office. The Last Jedi, for all the polarizing debates, still brought in $1.3 billion worldwide. Marvel and Pixar have rebounded from commercial disappointments in the past, so there's no reason why Star Wars can't, either. If Kennedy wants to leave on her own accord, that's her prerogative, but it would be surprising if she was shown the door after overseeing three movies that collectively earned more than $4 billion globally.
In some respects, Disney has itself to blame for the way Solo turned out, at least box office wise. Last week, it was reported Disney rejected Lucasfilm's plan to delay the spinoff to December 2018, forcing Solo to remain in its competitive summer window. Additionally, Disney wouldn't allow Solo to interfere with promotional plans for Avengers: Infinity War, putting Solo at a disadvantage. There's no denying the prequel was mismanaged all around (Kennedy deserves blame for the Phil Lord & Chris Miller situation that inflated Solo's budget), but it's something everyone can learn lessons from. Hopefully, what happened on Solo was a fluke and Star Wars goes back to thriving for years to come.
Source: Grace Randolph
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019