The Hollywood Reporter recently broke the news that Lynne Hale will be retiring at the end of 2021, bringing to a close a run of 35 years leading Lucasfilm’s public relations.
Hale, who is currently Lucasfilm’s Vice President of Publicity & Communications, joined the company in 1986 and played a pivotal role in the Star Wars franchise. She joined the company just three years following the release of Return of the Jedi and helped lead the Star Wars franchise through an uncertain future – and then, in a massive return. That return brought the Star Wars franchise back to theaters in a big way, with the release of the Special Editions of the original trilogy and, most significantly, the release of the prequel trilogy beginning in 1999. And then, of course, when Disney acquired Lucasfilm in 2012, Hale continued to lead Star Wars into another new period of revival, spanning the sequel trilogy, spin-off films, and TV series. Beyond Star Wars, Hale worked on promoting Lucasfilm’s other projects as well, including Willow (1988), Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989), The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles (1992-1993), Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008), and Red Tails (2012), among others.
When she was hired by George Lucas in 1986, she was the only publicist in the company, according to THR. It should not be lost on fans how much the Star Wars marketing and publicity has grown under Hale’s watch, and how she ran with the promotion for the franchise during its two biggest eras of returning to theaters and the limelight. And given the nature of a certain segment of Star Wars fans, particularly those online, her role couldn’t have been easy. To stay in it for 35 years is a testament to her resolve and skill, and to see how effectively Star Wars has stayed in the limelight and grown in the decades since then is a testament, among many other factors, to Hale’s efforts.
THR’s article notes how Hale loved the fans and wanted everyone to receive a response, particularly kids. And during Hale’s time in the company, many major Star Wars fan interactions, most notably Celebration, came to be.
“Across 35 years of working with her, I’ve never had a colleague more astute, collaborative and loyal than Lynne Hale,” George Lucas told THR. “A good person through and through, she’s one of the mainstays of the Star Wars experience and went on to be a key player in Lucasfilm. I’ve valued Lynne’s sage advice and friendship and couldn’t be happier for her to be realizing her dream of seeking new challenges and adventures.”
Lucasfilm’s current President, Kathy Kennedy, also spoke to Hale’s work. “I have had the joy of working with Lynne throughout her 35 years at Lucasfilm,” she told THR. “Lynne has made many significant contributions to the company in so many areas, especially as Lucasfilm has grown and integrated with Disney. I’m really happy that Lynne will be able to pursue some of her dreams and enjoy the rewards of such a fulfilling career, but we will all miss her contagious smile and enthusiasm!”
It is certainly hard to even measure Lynne Hale’s impact on Lucasfilm and the Star Wars franchise over the past 35 years, and she will certainly be missed.