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– by David Kozlowski

Way back in 2012 a major disturbance was felt in Hollywood, as George Lucas agreed to sell his companies to Disney for a cool $4 billion. The deal included LucasFilm itself, special effects house ILM, and major film and television properties, such as Star Wars and Indiana Jones. Fan reactions were immediate and intense; those who loved the original Star Wars trilogy were terrified about the corporate takeover and what it might mean for the future of the franchise, while those who hated Lucas’ prequel films were overjoyed and excited about the possibilities of new voices steering future films and series.

According to USA Today, Disney’s CEO Bob Iger issued the following remarks immediately after the sale:

“This is one of the great entertainment properties of all time, one of the best branded and one of the most valuable… Our long term plan is to release a new Star Wars feature film every two to three years, probably on a cadence of every other year and then go from there… The (first) film is in early stage development right now.”

Disney named veteran producer and LucasFilm co-chair, Kathleen Kennedy — a long-time Lucas ally — to run the organization. Five years on, the results have been something of a mixed bag. The box office revenues for recent Star Wars films and shows have been off-the-charts, but creatively many of these projects have been a mess (depending upon who you talk to and when).

Related – Mark Hamill Fundamentally Disagreed With Choices Made For Luke Skywalker

Several new Star Wars films and series are in various stages of development, including this fall’s The Last Jedi, Star Wars: Episode IX, an untitled Han Solo origin film, and several rumored anthology stories (Yoda, Boba Fett, Ben Kenobi, and even Jabba the Hut). However, we’ve also been hearing for a while now that the collaborative relationship between LucasFilm’s upper management and their hired filmmakers has been rocky (at best)… what’s unclear is why and what it all means.

Director Gareth Edwards sought to make Rogue One a sci-fi war film, but his vision was judged too dark.

A Series Of Unfortunate Decisions

J.J. Abrams’ The Force Awakens (2015) was the first Star Wars film released under Disney, and it seems to have as many fans as detractors. Abrams introduced several new characters, but he also recycled major plot points from the original Star Wars: A New Hope (1977), much to the frustration of many fans. However, the film earned a whopping $2 billion worldwide — nearly half the cost of the entire Disney acquisition — and the film was also intended as a jumping-on point for new audiences. The following year, Rogue One (2016), was released, which filled-in narrative gaps between Revenge of the Sith (2005) and Star Wars: A New Hope (the new film literally ends moments into the opening of A New Hope). Rogue One was also a massive success and generated an additional $1 billion worldwide. Two films in and $3 billion collected (to say nothing of revenues for toys, games, shirts, etc.). Not a bad start, right?

However, rumors of growing problems behind the scenes at LucasFilm were beginning to emerge.

One early sign of trouble came from George Lucas himself. Immediately after the acquisition, Kennedy stated that Lucas would be something of a franchise “godfather,” helping to map out future Star Wars films; Lucas even presented story treatments for a new trilogy. However, it’s apparent that plan went out the window almost immediately. Lucas told EW:

“They decided they didn’t want to use those stories, they decided they were gonna go do their own thing. They weren’t that keen to have me involved anyway.”

At the time, Lucas’ comments seemed bizarre and out of left field. It’s certainly not what fans wanted to hear. A few months later Kennedy shared her side of it, in an interview with SlashFilm:

“There are certain things [J.J. Abrams] retained and obviously everything George created, you can imagine, every single person involved in this process hugely respects and wanted to know as much as they possibly could about the universe that he was describing. He had specific plot ideas that evolved… you bring writers on and once the story starts to take shape, it evolves. George wasn’t a part of those development discussions, so it was a fairly natural process of evolution. It sounds like we ignored him but that’s not really what happened.”

And then, a few days before The Force Awakens hit theaters, Lucas punched back in a TV interview with Charlie Rose:

“They wanted to do a retro movie. I don’t like that. I like — every movie, I worked very hard to make them completely different, with different planets, with different spaceships — you know, to make it new.”

Ouch. It’s unclear if Lucas was upset with Kennedy, Abrams, Disney, or all three. But in that same Charlie Rose interview, Lucas half-jokingly refers to Disney as “white slavers,” though he later walked this remark back. However, Lucas’ comments mirrored those of many critics who found the retread elements a little too heavy-handed.

Star Wars creator George Lucas has made negative comments about LucasFilm’s creative choices.

A Helping Hand Or An Iron Fist?

Are these problems simply indicative of the creative process or something more? Several months ahead of Rogue One‘s release we learned that director Gareth Edwards was sidelined by industry vet, Tony Gilroy (The Bourne Legacy), who was brought in for major script re-writes and to conduct extensive reshoots late in production; Gilroy was also paid $5 million for his efforts. While it’s not uncommon for blockbusters to conduct extensive reshoots, it’s highly unusual to bring on another filmmaker at such a high rate of pay at the last moment. In 2015 Josh Trank (Chronicle) was hired and then soon resigned from the untitled Han Solo anthology film, which was passed on to new directing team, Lord and Miller (The LEGO Movie), who were themselves fired just recently, and finally just this week we learned that the director of Star Wars: Episode IX, Colin Trevorrow, is out too. Clearly, there’s something seriously wrong at LucasFilm.

While it’s reasonable to assume sour grapes with the Lucas transition, it’s not that easy to write off more recent events with Edwards, Trank, Lord and Miller, and Trevorrow. Although we’ve heard very few issues associated with Rian Johnson’s forthcoming The Last Jedi, let’s remember that it wasn’t until after Rogue One‘s release that we learned the really ugly stuff about that film’s production: changed endings, completely reshot scenes, and revised character motivations (and yes, we know there were early signs of trouble, but nothing like what was eventually revealed).

So what’s really going on at LucasFilm? From 30,000 feet, all signs point to heavy-handed management and personality conflicts. If true, you have to look at the person heading the organization, Kathleen Kennedy. Throughout all of the aforementioned problems, Kennedy and the deposed creative folks have each maintained positive spins regarding their various mishaps and break-ups, but it’s impossible to ignore the totality of what’s happened since 2012. Kennedy runs the show and bears responsibility for wins and losses, so it’s absolutely fair to assign blame her way.

Production on Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi has had few reported problems (so far).

Doing The Same Thing Over And Over, And Expecting Different Results

However, to be fair to Kennedy for a moment, look at this from another point of view. LucasFilm has an incredibly challenging task in making these Star Wars films. They have to meet the expectations of at least three distinct audiences: fans of the original trilogy, fans of the prequels, and the current generation who are starting with The Force Awakens — that’s a really tough line to straddle. Cram too much new stuff into each film and you alienate the legacy fanbase, lean too far into nostalgia and everyone gives you crap for lazy storytelling.

At the same time, its entirely reasonable to point the finger back at the creative folks too. These are multi-billion dollar projects, as such lots of careers and investments hinge on each film’s success. So, you’re essentially making a Faustian bargain by signing onto these massive films, and it’s to be expected that corporate oversight will be intense — that doesn’t make it right, but it’s the reality in Hollywood.

Back to Kennedy. She’s ultimately the one making the call on scripts, hiring talent, and deciding when to yank chains during production. Consider that Edwards, Johnson, Trank, Lord and Miller, and Trevorrow were all relatively green before being hired onto their various Star Wars projects (each had only directed 2-3 features beforehand), and those hiring decisions fall directly at Kennedy’s feet. Obviously, we’re on the outside looking in, but there’s clearly something awry at LucasFilm and there’s no indication that it’s going to improve anytime soon, so long as status quo is maintained. Kennedy is an industry vet, and at the end of the day these films are making billions under her watch.

Conclusion

Overseeing each of these Star Wars projects is a massive, unyielding proposition potentially worth multiple billions of dollars. Managing a studio is also an incredible undertaking, particularly within a mega-conglomerate like Disney. Juggling business and creative responsibilities at the same time is hubris defined. What Kennedy really needs is a partner or a subordinate to share or delegate responsibilities, someone who knows the ins-and-outs of every corner of the Star Wars universe, someone akin to Geoff Johns or Kevin Feige who manages canon, production, and creative aspects while she manages the Disney relationship and runs the studio. This has worked out pretty well for Marvel and DC, and it’s shocking that there’s not an equivalent role at LucasFilm.

Given the string of unfortunate events on each of the Star Wars projects described above, Kennedy needs to make some kind of organizational and/or structural changes. There’s simply too much at stake for everyone involved, not the least of which are the fans themselves who pay to watch these films. A lot rides on who Kennedy hires to replace Treverrow, and the wrong choice could mark the end of her reign. Fortunately, a new chapter will be written in December when The Last Jedi hits theaters — hopefully it will be absent any significant outside drama, but then again, maybe this is the new normal for Star Wars fans.

What do you think is happening at LucasFilm and does it cause you concern about the future of the franchise? Let us know in the comments down below!

The Last Jedi hits theaters on December 15, 2017.

Don’t forget to share this post on your Facebook wall and with your Twitter followers! Just hit the buttons on the top of this page.

SOURCES: USA Today , Box Office Mojo , EW , SlashFilm , The Telegraph , Hulu , TheVerge , THR

  • randomironicname

    Yes something is goofy but in the end they have put out two solid movies. Maybe Kennedy is heavy handed with the quality control but I am glad that is the case, keep the brand strong. Pulling the plug on the first Han Solo team so late in the game was pretty ballsy and a real commitment to get it right. That said, it looks bad from the outside. Perhaps the main problem is that they should make better decisions with the initial hiring of directors. Trank/ Lord & Miller were not great choices to begin with and everything that followed was just dominoes. In the end, I don’t care until they put out a dud.

    • Thanks for the comments! I agree, until we get a bad film there’s no reason to panic. I can forgive the silly plot retread elements in The Force Awakens, but let’s be honest, there were some big issues with the script… and Kylo Ren was a terrible villain.

      I also agree with you regarding Kennedy’s aggressive leadership to make script and directing changes when things aren’t working. That said, some pretty big changes to Rogue One were made late in production, and there remains plenty of issues with that film too.

      I’m definitely hoping that The Last Jedi breaks the recent director’s curse.

      • randomironicname

        Yeah, I think we are on the same page. My main thing is that I don’t think anyone other than Kennedy could get away with a lot of this stuff because holy shit there have been some added costs. Another EP may have let Rogue One go out as a dud in the sophomore film of this new wave.
        The Last Jedi seems relatively problem free compared to the others. If it minimizes the retread I hope you are correct that the curse would be broken. Bring on someone safe for Ep.9 and get the ship sailing smooth going forward.
        ***Driver is too dorky to make Kylo Ren a decent villain. ***

        • DailyPlunge

          Driver is probably the most talented actor majorly involved in the project. I expect the next film to utilize him more.

          • randomironicname

            Oscar Isaac has had a lot more acclaim than Driver. I’m not saying that Driver doesn’t have talent, he just isn’t menacing (at all).

          • DailyPlunge

            I’m not sure he’s supposed to be? He’s not supposed to be Vader. At least not yet.

          • randomironicname

            I have no idea what route they intended to take the character. He came off as a 30-year-old mopey teen which just played weird and I think Driver’s distinct look hurt in selling that take as well.

      • DailyPlunge

        There’s no accounting for taste. Both movies have have been critically and financially successful. These are after all movies for 12 year olds.

        I loved Kylo Ren. I didn’t care for the super death star, but The Force Awakens is probably my top 3 favorite Star Wars films.

        I don’t care how the sausage is made as long as the movies are good. If the directors aren’t playing ball with the story team then Kennedy is being proactive. Kennedy is one of the most successful movie producers ever. I think she knows what she’s doing

    • Kindofabigdeal

      I was going to comment, but you said pretty much what I was thinking.

    • Jeremy Alexander

      I completely agree as well. The biggest problem to me seems to be the hiring process. People get fired when they do a shit job and I’m thankful that Disney has the guts to pull the trigger instead of just putting anything out with Star Wars in the title knowing it will make a cold bil and more with toys and porgs and shit. It tells me they give a fuck and I don’t see how anyone can be mad at that. The assholes on Han Solo’s only claim to fame was a reboot of 21 Jump Street, I think I’ll stick with the minds at Disney that are 2-0 with Star Wars and 56354265-0 with Marvel.

  • Victor Roa

    I used to run a prequel news site and I saw the decline of Lucas, and it really was more passive aggressive. And right now it seems like it was the intention of Kennedy to make a playground for the creatives who grew up with original Trilogy…. but that doesn’t meet up deadlines or make for good toy sales. I’m surprised how she herself doesn’t really have a “vision of what is star wars” but I do think the main films don’t ruin the licensing side of the money. Some of those Star Wars toys look better then about 90% of the stuff on shelves, the sphero BB8 is nuts, but yeah, it’s embarising a lot of the leaks about actor training for han solo but so was the Prequel Trilogy’s drama about Nsync in the Jedi battle scene.

    • JSmoove

      What would the ‘vision’ be? She’s a producer…not a director or writer. Producers don’t normally define the vision.

      • BJ Summers

        Producers support that vision, until that vision under-delivers.

      • Victor Roa

        just something, because the rumors of Kevin Feige meddling with Marvel movies help considering how many different directors get to keep their vision. She seems to be running a day care center with so called artists playing with very expensive toys. And it really goes to show you stressful it was for Lucas to handle all of this even when it seemed he was on balance with Clone Wars.
        Right now, I hope there’s just a story bible, and if they want to hire a “industry director” they should go with Joe Johnston. Thats a director the fanboys would faint at the idea of and plus he’s been in rough productions that had multiple directors like the Wolfman.

  • ScreamFace

    There is a lack of imagination and vision.

    The Han Solo film is such a terrible idea. Rogue One wasn’t needed but it’s a fun little safe contained concept for a film. The Solo film runs such a risk of damaging the character it seems this is what they were discovering when they were not getting the performance they wanted. It’s such a dumb decision and shows a lack of imagination. Same with Boba or Jabba films.

    I am less critical of an Obi-Wan film purely because we have Ewan and a Jedi in hiding on a mission under the Empire could be cool. It’s not needed, but it could be cool. Ultimately it won’t impact anything else. Solo, if we establish he’s really just a fun loving, good guy who plays tough. Then his character arcs change in the OT.

    I don’t know what Lucas’s ideas were for pushing the story forward. It doesn’t matter because I think we just wished they pushed the story forward. They did great with the characters, but TFA just wanted to make a Star Wars film, not go forward. Hence how it’s just rebels vs empire again and a death star. It’s a lack of imagination. The film would have been just as good and just as successful if the final act took place on a non super weapon planet, or a non super weapon space station. Just have another reason they need to blow something up and have a space battle. It could have just been some ultra powerful stealth star destroyer doing sneak attacks on Republic fleets and bases preparing for an invasion. It could have then been used in the story to show more of the wider galaxy and probably been a better film and seen as less of a rehash.

    I also find it troublesome that Rhian seems to say he was free to do whatever he wanted with TLJ. Surely he should have been given back stories of characters, events and a set up of where things are going. One big issue with TFA was that nothings really explained or set up. It seems this was just on purpose because they didn’t have the answers. Anything new is just kind of hinted at. Like they didn’t want to make a mistake in a creative choice.

    I really hope TLJ fixes a lot of these issues. I kind of suspect we’ll end up in a situation like with the prequels. The first of the trilogy isn’t actually all that necessary for the story. It’s just kind of some introductions you don’t actually need to have had explained. I just hope TLJ is actually set in the wider Star Wars galaxy. I want some imagination in settings and locations.

    • DailyPlunge

      Each of these trilogies is developed so you don’t have to watch any of the other movies. Hence they don’t spend 45 minutes explaining that the First Order rose out of the ashes of the Empire in the Unknown Regions of space. See, just explaining it makes me start to fall to sleep.

      Rian Johnson will explain the politics a bit more, but the New Republic was basically wiped out in the last film. So it’s the Resistance vs. the invading First Order.

      Also, the Force Awakens was a tremendous success. Was it perfect? Nope, but it was successful setting up a new trilogy. It did it by introducing some awesome new characters and it did it without even a word from Luke Skywalker. It’s a real achievement that people care about BB-8, Finn, Rey, and Poe. That they were able to do it in one film is pretty amazing.

      • Jeremy Alexander

        Yeah, people seem to forget that when the credits rolled on ROTJ, all we knew about Vader was that he met Obi Wan in something called the Clone Wars, was a good pilot and turned to the darkside. We knew nothing about the emperor. He was in Empire for 2 seconds as a hologram, and a few scenes in ROTJ. Was Luke’s mother even mentioned outside of Luke’s quick question to Leia? Nope. How did the Empire arise? How did the rebellion form and why was Leia important to it? No idea. Over explanation of meaningless things and overfocusing on individual characters is one of the things that killed the prequels.

        • I totally agree, the prequels told us a bunch of stuff that we already knew — and somehow Lucas expressed it in the sloppiest and silliest ways possible. Sure, he was making these films for kids — and kids love Jar Jar for some reason — but he left out most of the generation who grew up with the original trilogy. TFA wasn’t terribly inventive, but it was light years better than anything from the prequels.

          • JSmoove

            I have a 4 year old and a 6 year old. They both watched the prequels and didn’t like Jar Jar.

    • JSmoove

      I’m sure Rian Johnson was never given backstories, etc.

      C’mon. You’re being silly.

  • Rodan J Copilot

    When DC makes 2 movies that gross over $1B then let’s include them in well run orgs. These are obvious growing pains of announcing a release strategy before they had a story to tell.

    • Batman v Superman ($873 m), Suicide Squad ($746 m), and Wonder Woman ($813 m)… pretty solid numbers, 3 hits in a row, and Justice League is almost certainly going to break $1 billion starting this November. Wonder Woman is #2 film domestically in 2017 and #5 best superhero film of all-time.

      • Kronx

        Force Awakens ($2 b), Rogue One ($1 b).

        Disney knows when a film isn’t working, not just structure but character. Yes, they hired promising directors, and it didn’t work out. But it’s not like they hired unknowns. “The Lego Movie” and “Jurassic World” were pretty solid.

        The problem is we really don’t know the details well enough to see if they made the right move. My gut says yes. When I read what the changes were to Rogue One, they made sense. I think the film was probably much stronger.

        As for DC… come on. Like they haven’t had director problems? I just wish someone could’ve helped Snyder mold Man of Steel and tighten BvS.

        • Jeremy Alexander

          Jurassic World was shit, and the LEGO movie was okay for a kids movie, but let’s not pretend it was some awesome film. Disney’s issue is that they need to get more veteran directors and give time for younger ones to develope and get a portfolio behind them. That’s why I like Ron Howard coming in to finish Han Solo. I don’t love everything he’s done, but I trust him to at least have some taste, some reverence for the material, and the professionalism to pull it all together. I’ll take that over two guys best know for a stupid 21 Jump Street reboot.

          • Kronx

            Initially I was disappointed in Jurassic World, but then I remembered it’s a film about people running from dinosaurs for two hours. No it isn’t Citizen Kane, but if Citizen Kane had had dinosaurs … wow, that would’ve been amazing. Rosebud is a T-Rex. Looks like I have some fan fiction to write.

            Anyway the guy made a franchise film people liked. It’s not insane for Disney to think he might be the right guy.

            But I do agree with hiring veteran directors. Either that or Disney should divorce the writing and directing duties altogether and simply hire someone to direct a script that is already finished.

          • BJ Summers

            Yes as an ILM demo reel Jurassic World is entertaining. If you like a story that will uplift and thrill with interesting characters it’s boring. (Just re-watched a bit on cable, all the flaws become more apparent with each viewing, but like you said there’s Dinosaurs and I will watch a bad movie for dinosaurs)

      • JSmoove

        I don’t know how you could ever call Suicide Squad or Batman vs. Superman hits. They were both awful movies, regardless of how many suckers were duped into spending money to see them.

      • Rodan J Copilot

        And yet not two billion dollar films in a row, like Kathleen Kennedy accomplished. And DC has had tons of Director and Leadership issues over the last few years.

        You have valid points, but to hold up DC as an icon to follow is misguided and detracts from the rest of your overall narrative.

  • Yerko Vidal Cvitanic

    I would like (my opinion), to see a Obi Wan movie directed by Quentin Tarantino.
    With Ewan McGregor and Samuel L. Jackson (yes bring Mace Window back so they can kill him off again in a epic fight). BUT – this will never happen (thanks hollywood!).

    • Jeremy Alexander

      They are likely doing an Obi Wan movie, and you’re assuming Tarantino would want to make a Star Wars movie, and I sure as shit don’t see him wanting anything to do with it. Plus even if Mace survived a 500 story fall out a window, which he didn’t, he was a shit character. What in any of those shit prequels made MAce Windu a cool character?

      • dsbrown44

        Not a fan of Ep1-3, but Mace’s nonchalant dispatching of Jango Fett was a highlight. And, he was holding his own against the emperor– a feat matched only by Yoda.

      • Yerko Vidal Cvitanic

        I think Tarantino would reject doing a franchise movie – no doubt. But still, he is a very good storyteller and the dialog he would bring to a star wars movie… What do you call a Big Mac in Kashyyyk? … Nobody is happy with the prequels, everybody was expecting something else. Sit Lucas Sit, bad Lucas. I know they are starting on the Obi Wan movie, but come on! IF you see Quentin, tell him, why not? And what about George Miller?

        https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/83dc2895200898caf57ef2f43278151890732d21a2d16e1ab3792c3e2cc8ff6b.jpg

    • I would pay to watch that film, 100%.

  • Mike

    I wouldn’t say force awakens has as many fans as detractors…yes negative voices on the internet tend to be the loudest and last the longest, but that film was way more loved than disliked

    • Jeremy Alexander

      I agree. As someone that saw the originals in the theaters as a kid and as someone for whom Star Wars is a major part of my childhood, I really enjoyed TFA. Sure it was a little close to E4 for comfort, but I found that a palate cleanser after the horrible prequels that I thought killed Star Wars forever. And Rogue One was a fantastic movie. I just can’t believe that a true old school Star Wars fan could find much to dislike about that film without being completely blinded by nostalgia, or having an agenda that has nothing to do with the quality of the film. As long as TLJ isn’t a retread of Empire, then I’m fine. I trust Disney. They’ve done a fantastic job with Marvel and imho are 2-0 with Star Wars so far.

      • Great point about TFA, I have my issues with the film, but it sure helped to wash away that prequel stink.

    • Storymark

      People love their memberberries.

      • samjacksonswig

        OOOOOHHH I MEMBA!!!!!!!!

    • JSmoove

      Completely agree. I never spoken to a real non-internet person who didn’t like it.

      • Clarence Bricklyne

        …..and as everyone knows so well, the best type of proof is anecdotal proof.
        Clearly.

        Or at least I heard from someone very very smart, that I know.
        He’s the smartest.

        • Jeremy Alexander

          You mean anecdotal bullshit like your statement that “everyone else is beginning to catch on” that somehow E7 is a bad movie? You’ve got a ton of proof of that, right? I actually respect the film more on the occasion when I watch it now. The fact that it’s a close mirror of Episode 4 isn’t a revelation that people like you were so clever to point out, it was the stated plan with the film from the very start. It was always meant to be a soft reboot of the series while maintaining the original films as canon. It was always meant to remind people of E4 and to start fresh and everyone at Disney has been very clear about that from day 1. And I would still point out that it is, at worst, the 4th best movie in Star Wars and I happen to think it’s a better film than ROTJ other than a few moments between Luke, Vader, and the Emperor that they had to turn into space incest for it to even work because Lucas was more concerned with Teddy Bear sales than a coherent narrative. E7 isn’t my favorite Star Wars movie, I would put E4,5 and Rogue One ahead of it, but I still enjoy it and think it’s a well made film. If E8 comes out and it’s TESB all over, then yeah, fuck em, but they’ve said over and over that it isn’t and I haven’t seen any reason to not believe them.

    • noahwayne0

      Its just a recency bias. The nostalgia and fan service blinded people. Over time – when these films are seen as a group – the force awakens popularity will fade. Its clearly a copy of Episode IV.

    • Clarence Bricklyne

      It hasn’t aged well.

      In fact quite the opposite.
      The farther away from the excitement and nostalgia from a firs Star Wars movie in 30 years (not counting the prequels) the worse it looks as it becomes obvious just how derivative and unoriginal it is.

      Quite a few people noticed this when it was released and were bashed as haters.
      Now everyone else is beginning to catch on.

  • Jeremy Alexander

    The Force Awakens was the best Star Wars has offered since the closing credits of Empire Strikes Back and Rogue One is flat out great Star Wars and a good film. Lucas is even a hypocrite in his last statement as ROTJ was basically E4 redone with teddy bears added. Until Disney releases a bad Star Wars film, I’ll trust their process. If they release a Phantom Menace, then come back to me and we’ll talk. I trust them more than the guys that directed 21 Jump Street and a guy who turned the Jurassic Park franchise into shit.

    • JSmoove

      100% agree.

    • noahwayne0

      In no way was ROTJ was “basically” E4 redone. Thats just being willfully ignorant.

      The Force Awakens however is a clear copy of Episode IV. It was boring and predictable.

      • axebox

        Yup. Even Solo is like “there’s always a bigger Death Star.”

      • Jeremy Alexander

        “willfully ignorant”, LOL! Yeah okay. You’re right, it wasn’t E4 done all over, it was worse it also copied some of the same stokes as E5 and threw any cohesion out of the window. They turned Han Solo into a clownish idiot, somehow Luke became a Jedi by getting his ass handed to him by Vader despite Yoda saying he failed in his training. Yet without further training and a record of 0-1 in lightsaber and force duels, he’s magically a jedi because we have to move the plot along. The first act takes place on Tattooine and the second act takes place in and around a death star. Same fucking movie, bud. We didn’t even get the cool Wookie rebellion they originally envisioned because by the time the ROTJ turd dropped Lucas was more concerned about teddy bear sales than quality films. I’m not even touching some of the obvious script fuckery like the last minute brother sister bullshit between Luke and Leia which Lucas admitted he threw in because he couldn’t think of any other way to tempt Luke to fight Vader in the throne room. It mashed up and copied the first two movies, wrecked it’s story and characters, and you want to tell me I’m woefully ignorant. I was there day one, I saw the mess it was and felt it was a copy and I was 9 fucking years old. Your the one that is not only woefully ignorant, but completely blinded by nostalgia and a sheeple that has to run with the internet hipster hate club instead of forming your own objective opinions. In other words, fuck you.

    • Clarence Bricklyne

      I would put Force Awakens just below the prequels.

      Certainly below Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith.
      Maybe it edges out Phantom Menace……but just barely.

      At least those films tried to be original and take the saga in a completely new direction.
      They may not have succeeded.

      Force Awakens was like a clinic in paint-by-the-numbers Focus-grouped safe film-making.

      It’s almost like Abrams was ticking off a list of checklist items from top 20 most liked Star Wars story points in making the movie, and going, “…but BIGGER, brighter!!”

      Those of us who like Star Trek and saw him ruin that franchise, of course saw this coming a mile away.

      • Jeremy Alexander

        LOL! He ruined Star Trek? You don’t have to love em, but those are the best things to come out of the Star Trek franchise since The Voyage Home. Anything from the Next Generation on was garbage aside from the Borg which they eventually ruined as well. Star Trek died after the original show and the first 4 movies. If you like anything modern Trek that goes miles to explain your idiotic comments here. I can’t have a logical argument with someone that has absolutely no taste in film and television. JJ Abrams has given us some of the best science fiction films and tv series of the last decade and a half. You can hop on the hate wagon and pretend your smart by calling anything popular, shit. It’s the oldest lameness in the book. Some people need to hate anything that many other people like because they feel a need to feel superior, even knowing that need comes from a place of pure insecurity. As for your BIGGER and brighter comment, that’s the ultimate in stupidity. Now were supposed to pretend the multi billion dollar Star Wars business empire was all about low key quaint indie films, right? Moron.

  • Sizzle Spice Donkey

    Women can’t produce for shit in the industry, Fox, Sony and Lucas seem to have the same problem and at the helm are women. I don’t care if it sounds sexist, but when you have women in charge of a male oriented product there’s going to be a lack of understanding in terms of creative direction.

    • JSmoove

      Completely disagree. I work with producers everyday and I think what she’s done is amazing. The easiest thing to do as a producer is to do nothing. Just let it play out and hope it works, then cover your ass. She’s had the balls to make risky changes to ensure that the movies are great, which is the only thing that matters as a producer at the end of the day. You’re judged on results. Period.

    • axebox

      Wow. You’re an Ignorant Donkey.

    • Clarence Bricklyne

      Which woman leads Sony?

      Because it sure ain’t Amy Pascal, if that’s whom you’re thinking.

      For that matter which one leads Fox?

  • One issue is that Star Wars was never a democracy – the final word was always Lucas. Kennedy is a strong manager but not a visionary – I always felt like Dave Filoni was given the best crash course about how to create Star Wars and having him in charge of the story group instead of just the animation wing I think would be a help, having one person instead of a story group holding final say on the creative direction of the galaxy like Lucas might help streamline the indecision of the Star Wars universe.

  • BJ Summers

    Kathleen Kennedy is no coward and will not waffle in protecting the Star Wars property. And the first two releases so far have been HUGE successes. Don’t understand where these “Kennedy has to go” think pieces are coming from, when so many other producers and studios interfere with projects to terrible results. >hint< is it subconscious sexism?

  • razorstar90

    Each Star Wars movie has had a great reception and made 1B dollars….If Lucasfilm gives Kennedy the boot, I’m sure the folks at WB would love to have her run the DCEU. How many billion dollar films with great reviews do they have? NONE.

    Star Wars TFA made 1 Billion dollars. Rogue One was going to be a disaster with that “I Rebel” bull shit they were going to have and Kennedy took action.

    If the quality of the movies go down and the box office takes a huge dip, that’s when you get rid of management. In other words what the DCEU should have done with Snyder after MOS

  • the50sguystrikesback

    NO, the conclusion IS…This article was unnecessary.

    Disney has two successful Star Wars films (‘The Force Awakens’ and ‘Rogue One’) directed by two respected industry professionals (J.J. Abrams and Gareth Edwards).

    Now we have ‘The Last Jedi’ directed by Rian Johnson and an ‘Untitled Han Solo’ film by Ron Howard on the way and ALL under the oversight of CEO Kathleen Kennedy.

    She is earning her money (AND her keep) over at Disney for certain.

    Fans have been and continue to be QUITE satisfied.
    I (personally) have NO idea what you’re talking about

    I swear…
    I like you gents at LRM, but for some reason some of you just LOVE to sniff out disunity and disorder in (certain) entities where NONE exists (Mr. Medina does that periodically with the DCEU). SMH

    • Clarence Bricklyne

      It’s so great to have you join us here Kathleen.

      Any chance a brother could get a set visit sometime?

  • HaroldNMaudeDib

    They wouldn’t dare copy Empire Strikes Back after what they pulled with Force Awakens…

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/7461fe7dd02e4c74cd38fa6158c85da034e732cbfc8a778d5bbe8af14e512094.jpg

  • Saranac

    There are two factions: Those who like the original films, and people who have never seen it. People who like the prequels don’t matter. These are the same people who say there’s 4 Indiana Jones movies….

David Kozlowski is a writer, podcaster, and visual artist. A U.S. Army veteran, David worked 20 years in the videogame industry and is a graduate of Arizona State University's Film and Media Studies.