The Star Wars sequel trilogy wasn’t exactly a universal success across the board with fans and critics. There were more than a few criticisms about how Kathleen Kennedy and J.J. Abrams handled the stories. Even some in the closer-knit circles, like the Lucas family (or ex-Lucas family), are unhappy with what has happened to Star Wars in recent years, especially on the movie front. Recently, George Lucas’s ex-wife Maria Lucas, who had a major hand in the original Star Wars films, completely trashed both Kathleen Kennedy and Abrams for, as she put it, “ruining” Star Wars.
Maria Lucas didn’t spare a single word in calling out the Star Wars sequel trilogy, specifically the first two movies The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, both of which were helmed by J.J. Abrams in the director’s chair. Kathleen Kennedy was, of course, overseeing the studio at this point as well. Lucas holds them to blame for the meandering and nonsensical story that, in her mind, showed a complete lack of understanding about the Star Wars franchise. She helped write the foreword and was quoted in other sections of a biography about famed producer Howard Kazanjian (who worked on Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi). It was in these quotes (via theDirect) that Lucas began to take down what she thought Kathleen Kennedy and J.J. Abrams did incorrectly or incoherently.
Look, she had a lot to say here and almost none of it was complimentary, though she did have a few nice words about Kathleen Kennedy to start. But that was about it. After that, Lucas got to work. Regarding how Kennedy and J.J. Abrams approached the first two sequel trilogy films, Lucas said, “it seems to me that Kathy Kennedy and J.J. Abrams don’t have a clue about Star Wars. They don’t get it. And J.J. Abrams is writing these stories…” And not to be blamed for lack of specificity about what Lucas saw were actually problems in the storytelling and lack of understanding around what makes Star Wars so special, Lucas had this to say about Kathleen Kennedy and J.J. Abrams:
…when I saw that movie where they kill Han Solo, I was furious. I was furious when they killed Han Solo. Absolutely, positively there was no rhyme or reason to it. I thought, You don’t get the Jedi story. You don’t get the magic of Star Wars…You’re getting rid of Han Solo? And then at the end of this last one, The Last Jedi, they have Luke disintegrate. They killed Han Solo. They killed Luke Skywalker. And they don’t have Princess Leia anymore. And they’re spitting out movies every year.
For clarity’s sake, it looks like this book was written after the making of The Force of Awakens and prior to The Rise of Skywalker. God only knows what Lucas thought of that film considering how most Star Wars fans threw up their collective hands at the retconning of parts of the story. At that point, Kathleen Kennedy was still overseeing things, but Rian Johnson was handling the directorial work. So I guess J.J. Abrams is off the hook on that front.
Lucas went on to question other aspects of the story, specifically the development of the Rey character and how she came about to have the power she had. While the final movie does, of course, deal some with this, Lucas questions the background. Again, some of this is “cleared up” in the final film, though I would be almost certain that Lucas wouldn’t have found the explanation satisfactory. In closing, Lucas had this to say just in case anyone, by the end, wasn’t totally and crystal clear about her feelings on the subject of Kathleen Kennedy and J.J. Abrams.
It sucks. The storylines are terrible. Just terrible. Awful. You can quote me—‘J.J. Abrams, Kathy Kennedy—talk to me.
Well, there you have it. That leaves little in the way of grey area when it comes to what Maria Lucas thought of the job Kathleen Kennedy and company did with the story, specifically around the first two films of the sequel trilogy. It is a shame to have this kind of splintering within the ranks, especially considering the hand Maria Lucas had in the original set of classic films.
Though Maria Lucas, and many fans, weren’t happy with how those movies turned out, it looks like Kathleen Kennedy will still be overseeing future projects for years to come. It looks like she is set to re-up a contract with Disney to continue running LucasFilm into the future, including all of the upcoming projects in the works for the franchise. It will be interesting to see what Maria Lucas thinks of those films and series.