Is Kathleen Kennedy leaving Lucasfilm at the end of her contract? It’s a question we have asked before here at LRM. However, yesterday’s plethora of Star Wars news has prompted us to ask the question once more.
Yesterday was May 4th, aka Star Wars day. The final episode of The Clone Wars aired, and The Rise of Skywalker appeared on Disney+ for the first time. Not only that, but Lucasfilm made two big announcements for the movie and TV side of the franchise. Firstly, it was announced that Taiki Waititi would direct and co-write a new Star Wars movie. We were also told that rumors were true, and that Lesley Headland (Russian Doll) is developing a new Star Wars show for Disney+. Headland will write, produce, and act as showrunner on the show, but we have no other details yet.
There were a few other projects announced that connect to Star Wars, but these were the only two in the visual medium. What I find quite surprising about these two visual medium announcements, is that there is no mention of Kathleen Kennedy? Normally, we’d expect Kennedy, (or Krazy Kathy as some of our readers like to refer to her) to be mentioned. Kennedy is president of Lucasfilm after all. It would be a surprise to have a new Marvel show or movie announced without mention of Kevin Feige, wouldn’t it?
So get your tinfoil hats on, because we are getting back into speculating what the future holds for Star Wars. More specifically, we wonder if this year will see Kathleen Kennedy step down as president of Lucasfilm?
Star Wars DeKath?
The rumor and speculation around Kennedy stepping down from her post stems from one important fact. Kennedy’s current contract is up at the end of 2021. I guess we here at LRM all feel that if everything was going really well, Kennedy would have had her contract renewed already. However, depending on who you ask, Kennedy has not been great for Star Wars. And when it comes to purely profits, well things haven’t been all that great in that department either.
Solo was a flop, the first-ever Star Wars flop. The Rise of Skywalker was the first Star Wars trilogy capper to make less money than the middle episode. There were the Rogue One issues, the Solo issues, the delays in Cassian Andor, and Obi-Wan Kenobi shows. Then we had a new trilogy announced to begin in 2022 from Game of Thrones showrunners Benioff and Weiss. This trilogy subsequently never went anywhere, as Benioff and Weiss left the project soon afterward. The dates are still set for December, 2022, 2024, and 2026, but with no one attached.
Now we have a new movie, with no date from Taiki Waititi. If I was to guess, the earliest we will see Waititi’s Star Wars is 2024. Equally, I don’t see Headland’s TV show appearing till roughly the same time, maybe a year earlier in 23′ at most. Yet still, Disney has not canceled that Star Wars trilogy starting in 22′. And furthermore, almost every movie or show being worked on with the exception of The Mandalorian Season 2 is not expected to appear until after that Kennedy contract is up. Doesn’t this all seem like too much of a coincidence?
The Politics of Replacing a President
Remember back when the Cassian Andor delays were rumored due to script issues? At that point, LRM reached out to our own source within Lucasfilm. Our source gave us some clarity around Cassian Andor which panned out. You can check the details in the related link below. We also asked them whether there was any hint of Kennedy stepping down. The response was vague but intriguing. Our source simply told us they “knew things” and that more would be made clear at Star Wars Celebration. Now, Star Wars Celebration probably won’t happen anymore, that remains to be seen with the coronavirus. But we are moving closer to that time period. I personally think the hint is that Kennedy would be replaced officially at that point. However, that’s far from clear, and I’ve already given you all the info our source gave us.
RELATED: Star Wars: Cassian Andor Production Update, Kathleen Kennedy Departure Imminent? | LRM Top Shelf Rumors
The problem with replacing Kennedy is Disney investor confidence. There’s no way Disney sacks Kennedy, so they can’t replace her till 2021, officially. To do so would panic investors, especially if Disney doesn’t immediately announce a successor. If Disney and Kennedy have decided to part ways, then they’ll be trying to keep that quiet until Disney are ready. That probably means Disney being able to announce who is taking over as president of Lucasfilm.
If Kennedy is out, it would make sense that her name is not attached to either Waititi’s, or Headland’s projects. Whoever the president of Lucasfilm is going to be post 21′, would be the one who gave the go-ahead. However, if Disney isn’t ready to announce Kennedy’s successor, the absence of her name might be a clue that her contract isn’t being renewed? Or, that Kennedy herself has chosen to step down of her own volition.
If instead the plan is to renew Kennedy’s contract in 2021, then Kennedy approved both these projects. But, if that’s the case, why is her name not in any of the official statements? And now that I think about it, when was the last time he heard anything from Kathleen Kennedy about Star Wars? How many times have we heard from Kevin Feige about Marvel since Kennedy last spoke publicly about Star Wars, twenty, thirty?
An Absence of Clarity
And so the tinfoil theories become a wheel and around, and around we go. It’s my job to follow all Star Wars news, and for the last year or so, I’ve felt like a change was coming. Speaking to my colleagues here at LRM, most agree. Right now, any direction for the future of Star Wars has come from Bob Iger. There doesn’t appear to be any leadership coming from Kennedy. Add this to the fact that the future of Star Wars in movie theatres seems really unclear, then take all the problems and creative problems in Kennedy’s reign. There seems to be something brewing here?
Finally, we get two projects announced for Star Wars, one for TV, one for theaters. Yet, no mention of Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy. At some point, the weight of evidence begins to speak for itself, irrespective of hunches and speculation. Unless, well you readers tell me, am I looking at patterns that don’t exist here? Am I barking up the wrong tree metaphorically speaking? Or is Kennedy’s time almost up at Lucasfilm?
Let us know what you think in the usual place below. And if Kennedy does leave, who do you think should be the new president of Lucasfilm?
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