There’s nothing left to prove for Kathleen Kennedy when it comes to filmmaking.
She’s highly decorated, one of the most accomplished producers in movie history, and is currently third in lifetime box office gross, behind only Kevin Feige and Stephen Spielberg. Kennedy’s career spans nearly four decades, and she has produced films like E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Jurassic Park, The Force Awakens, and more. She accomplished the extremely difficult feat of navigating Star Wars into the post-George Lucas era (she was Lucas’s hand-picked successor), the sale to Disney, and the completion of the Skywalker saga’s sequel trilogy.
But now? She faces the daunting challenge of leading Star Wars not just away from Lucas, but away from the Skywalkers. But what does that future look like?
What we know is that there’s not going to be another film until 2022. The film was supposed to be from Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, but they parted ways with Lucasfilm earlier this year. And we also know that there will be plenty of shows coming to Disney+, with a second season of The Mandalorian, a seventh season of The Clone Wars, shows about Obi-Wan Kenobi and Cassian Andor, and other yet unannounced shows rumored to be in development (both live action and animated).
In a recent article by the Los Angeles Times‘ Ryan Faughnder that included interview with Kennedy, there were some interesting details revealed about the future of Star Wars. Here’s what I picked out of it:
- Kevin Feige has an idea for a Star Wars film, but it’s still in the early stages of development. Feige heads Marvel Studios and thus has overseen the massively successful Marvel Cinematic Universe, and it was revealed earlier this year that he would be co-producing a Star Wars film with Kennedy. It seems that is true, but in this article Kennedy said that it is still in the early stages of being developed. It seems like at this point, it’s not much more than an idea that’s being put into action.
- Rian Johnson is still developing his films. You shouldn’t need another reminder of this, because I hope you’re not believing any random crap on the internet (wait until the major trades pick it up), but the article again mentions that the director of The Last Jedi is still developing his Star Wars films. And it’s still excellent news.
- Kennedy will make decisions about the future in the coming weeks. Lucasfilm is still figuring out what the timeline will look like moving forward (it was Kennedy who approached Disney CEO Bob Iger about waiting three years until the next Star Wars feature film), and it sounds like Kennedy will make those decisions very soon. I’m assuming that once The Rise of Skywalker releases and has a bit of time to breathe, we’ll begin getting a few more revelations and announcements about the future of the saga that begin tricking in.
- They won’t abandon the sequel trilogy characters. Perhaps most interesting to me was the revelation that Kennedy already knows that they’re not going to abandon the new characters introduced in the sequel trilogy. I’m guessing that this won’t be in feature films but rather in shows on Disney+ or comics or books or related material, but it’s both interesting and welcome news.
- Star Wars is going to move away from the trilogy confines. So far, fans have really known Star Wars by trilogies, as we’ve gotten the prequel trilogy, original trilogy, and sequel trilogy. The only two deviations from that have been standalone films. But Kennedy said that they’re going to move away from the trilogy format and instead take however much time is needed to tell the story. “I think it gives us a more open-ended view of storytelling and doesn’t lock us into this three-act structure,” Kennedy said. “We’re not going to have some finite number and fit it into a box. We’re really going to let the story dictate that.”
- Lucasfilm will move outside of Star Wars too. While Lucasfilm will always be known primarily for Star Wars (and for good reason), Kennedy has plans to continue to grow the company beyond just the Star Wars brand. Obviously we know that there’s a fifth Indiana Jones film coming that’s planned for 2021 (with Harrison Ford returning to star). But the article also reveals that Jon Kasdan (who co-wrote Solo: A Star Wars Story) has completed a pilot script for a series based on Willow, presumably for Disney+. And upon reading the book “Children of Blood and Bone” and seeing Disney acquire Fox (who owned the rights to the book), Kennedy is going to produce the film adaptation of the book for Lucasfilm. “I’m very excited at the possibility of being able to do things that expand our portfolio a little bit,” she said. “You realize there’s so much potential to do some pretty great things, and to expand beyond just ‘Star Wars’ is pretty exciting to think about.”