Kathleen Kennedy: Marvel Studios' Strategy Wouldn't Work for Star Wars

Kathleen Kennedy says that they can't use the same approach that Kevin Feige implements in the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Star Wars and Disney knows that. As the Skywalker saga nears its end the J.J. Abrams-written and directed Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, talk about how the lore will continue past the main episodes has been a favorite topic of conversation among longtime fans. But whatever lies in the future of the beloved franchise, Kennedy knows that they can't expand horizontally as quickly as Marvel Studios does with their superhero universe.

After a decade hiatus, Star Wars was rejuvenated with the arrival of 2015's Star Wars: The Force Awakens - the seventh instalment from the main storyline, introducing fans to a slew of new characters such as Rey (Daisy Ridley), Poe (Oscar Isaac), Finn (John Boyega) and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver). Legacy characters such as Han Solo (Harrison Ford), General Organa (Carrie Fisher), and Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), albeit appearing only in the final moments of the film, also returned for the movie. Episode VII was followed by Rian Johnson's Star Wars: The Last Jedi which continued the narrative. Amidst the episodic entries, Lucasfilm also dabbled in spinoffs such as Gareth Edwards' Rogue One and Ron Howard's Solo. But with the latter underperforming at the box office not to mention its production kerfuffle, the company decided to scale back on offshoots and rethink their efforts in crafting a sustainable franchise.

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Speaking with Vanity Fair in light of the release of the first batch of official photos from The Rise of Skywalker, Kennedy candidly talked about their approach on building the Star Wars brand moving forward. She admits that while it worked with tremendous success with the MCU, Feige's strategy in expanding won't work with the space soap opera where there's at least two films out every year. And Disney fully understands this.

[I] think that Disney is very respectful of what this is, and right from the beginning we talked about the fragility of this form of storytelling. Because it’s something that means so much to fans that you can’t turn this into some kind of factory approach. You can’t even do what Marvel does, necessarily, where you pick characters and build new franchises around those characters. This needs to evolve differently.

Evil needs to feel and look very real. And what that means today may not be as black-and-white as it might have been in 1977, coming off a kind of World War II sensibility.

There’s a loss of innocence, a sense of innocence that existed in the 70s that I don’t think to any extent exists today. I think that has to permeate the storytelling and the reaction to the stories and how they’re set up. It has to feel differently because we’re different.

Star Wars Rise of Skywalker Rey Kylo Lightsaber Fight

Since its inception in 2008 via Robert Downey Jr. and Jon Favreu's Iron Man, the MCU has steadily grown in the last 10 years, and it doesn't seem like they have any plans of stopping even after Avengers: Endgame. Now, aside from conquering the big screen, the Marvel heroes are also slated to live in series-forms that will have a significant impact on what's happening in their films with Loki, Falcon & Winter Soldier, and WandaVision. Lucasfilm is doing a similar thing with The Mandalorian, coincidentally also from Favreau, also coming to Disney+, as well as the Cassian Andor spinoff starring Diego Luna's titular character and Alan Tudyk's K2-SO

The main distinction between Marvel and Star Wars, at least given their current states, is that the latter has a nuclear story with other narratives treated as side-content. The former meanwhile have an overall arc with several moving pieces with the promise of coming together. Both franchise structures have their pros and cons, but for the space saga, considering the vast expanse of the galaxy, far far away not to mention its rich of mythos, Lucasfilm can explore several pockets of time and place individually. This way, there's variation in terms of their content, which seems like the case with separated trilogies from Game of Thrones creators Davide Benioff and D.B. Weiss, as well as Johnson, not to mention any other additional projects in the pipeline like a third live-action show.

More: Both New Star Wars Movie Trilogies Are Controversial Now (& That's Good)

Source: Vanity Fair

Key Release Dates
  • Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019
  • Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019
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