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Kathleen Kennedy on why she thinks filmmakers are ditching Star Wars projects

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Star Wars has been such an iconic and inspirational franchise for not just movie fans, but many filmmakers as well. It’s one of the reasons why the chance to get to work on any project Star Wars related is seen as such a privilege in the industry. It’s also a franchise which lately seems to be having a little bit of trouble in keeping directors attached to its various projects.

Firstly, we had Phil Lord and Christopher Miller fired from Solo, which saw the film been completed by Ron Howard in record time but with an inflated budget. Then we saw Colin Trevorrow leaving the final and third part of the current film trilogy which was completed by J.J. Abrams, the man who started it off, instead. Recently we’ve also heard that David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, creators of HBO’ high-profile Game of Thrones, were also no longer involved with a planned trilogy of films they were reportedly working on.

Considering these people were either difficult to work with or had recent work which was less than stellar you could argue that these losses were rather fortuitous for the Star Wars brand. However, with Disney now at the helm of Star Wars and Kathleen Kennedy completely in charge of the franchise, it’s also easy to look higher up and see that as the reason for the change in personnel.    

Kennedy has a different take on things and shared in a recent interview with Rolling Stone why she believes that working on any Star Wars project is a tough prospect for people:

Every one of these movies is a particularly hard nut to crack. There’s no source material. We don’t have comic books. We don’t have 800-page novels. We don’t have anything other than passionate storytellers who get together and talk about what the next iteration might be. We go through a really normal development process that everybody else does. You start by talking to filmmakers who you think exhibit the sensibilities that you’re looking for. And I would argue that the list is very small — people who really do have the sensibilities about these kinds of movies, and then the experience and the ability to handle how enormous a job these movies are. So, we try to be as thoughtful as we possibly can about making those choices. I would also argue that sometimes people get involved in the normal development process, and then they realize, “Oh, my God, this is so much more than I ever imagined.” So, it’s pretty common that when you’re working on movies, you’re not making choices and decisions that necessarily work out exactly the way you want from the get-go.”

Considering that outside of these recent movies, the creative direction was always firmly with George Lucas, who directed all but two of the first 6 movies and was involved with the stories of each of them. So, these plights are a recent issue that Lucasfilm has never really had to deal with before. I would also argue that Kennedy’s claim of a lack of source material is a little controversial considering that the many novels and already exiting lore should provide plenty of source material and inspiration for filmmakers to draw upon.

However, I do think the biggest issue with working on a Star Wars project is the massive hype that exists around the franchise and there are few people that can deal satisfactorily with that level of fan expectation.

I do personally believe though that some of this turmoil has been a blessing in disguise as it has forced Disney and Lucasfilm to slow down a little in their approach and focus on quality over quantity. It will hopefully allow all future projects within the Star Wars universe to meet the high standards that are expected of them. Or at least try because I think very little could ever be good enough for the average Star Wars fan given how passionate they are.

Last Updated: November 20, 2019

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