While the future of the Star Wars franchise may look uncertain because of Solo: A Star Wars Story‘s poor box office performance, the person at the helm of Lucasfilm will stay on for another three years. New reports confirm Kathleen Kennedy has just signed a three-year extension to remain president of Lucasfilm. She will be responsible for overseeing the new films and help expand Star Wars with new television shows. More on the story below.
THR says the deal is a vote of confidence in Kennedy, who has been overseeing Lucasfilm since Disney acquired it from George Lucas for $4 billion in 2012. As the leader of the production company, she helped spearhead the latest releases of Star Wars films, which includes The Force Awakens, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, The Last Jedi, and Solo: A Star Wars Story. Three of the four were genuine hits, while Solo failed to meet box office expectations. But the franchise has continued to thrive thanks in part to merchandising and the upcoming opening of Disneyland’s Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
Now, the move does come at the heels of toxic fanboy outrage that has been calling for Kennedy to be fired over some of the questionable creative decisions the last Star Wars films have had. So the new deal should silence all of that.
But Kennedy, herself, is no stranger to controversy. Rogue One went through a number of rewrites and reshoots during the summer prior to the spinoff’s release. She fired directors Chris Miller and Phil Lord over creative differences on Solo with only a few weeks of filming left on the production schedule. While Ron Howard would step in to take their place, the film performed poorly at the box office. Additionally, Colin Trevorrow was let go from Episode IX due to creative differences, with J.J. Abrams replacing him.
The announcement also follows Disney CEO Bob Iger admitting that they would be slowing down with Star Wars film output.
Here’s what Iger said:
“I made the timing decision, and as I look back, I think the mistake that I made — I take the blame — was a little too much, too fast. You can expect some slowdown, but that doesn’t mean we’re not gonna make films.”
“We are just at the point where we’re gonna start making decisions about what comes next after J.J.’s. But I think we’re gonna be a little bit more careful about volume and timing. And the buck stops here on that.”
It’s not clear what other films Kennedy would be working on post-Episode IX. We know that Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, as well as Rian Johnson are working their own Star Wars properties. As for other spinoffs for Obi-Wan and Boba Fett, those have been put on hold for the time being.
Here’s what THR had to say about Kennedy’s television responsibilities.
“Sources say that the near future of Star Wars lies in television with Kennedy-led Lucasfilm planning on expanding the universe with new characters in that medium. The shows at this stage include a live-action series run by Jon Favreau (which is currently casting) and the animated Star Wars: The Clone Wars, both of which will air on Disney’s untitled streaming service, which is set to launch in the second half of 2019. Meanwhile, another animated series, Star Wars Resistance, premieres this month on The Disney Channel.”
Lucasfilm is also developing the untitled Indiana Jones 5, starring Harrison Ford, and will be directed by Steven Spielberg. The sequel recently pushed its release date an entire year after it was revealed that there were script issues that needed to be resolved.