Kathleen Kennedy’s contributions to the ever-expanding world of Star Wars are largely interminable, and like it or not, consequential enough to deserve praise. Her work as Lucasfilm’s outgoing President spans all three sequel films, Rogue One, and Solo: A Star Wars Story — plus The Mandalorian and a couple more incoming television spin-offs — and has succeeded, time and again, in honoring George Lucas’s sprawling legacy. She is, after all, the third highest-grossing Hollywood producer of all time, right next to Kevin Feige and Steven Spielberg.
Unfortunately, fan response to Kathleen Kennedy’s movies has been schismatic and inconclusive, hopelessly splintered by nostalgia, expectations, and relatively lackluster storytelling. Following the overnight success of Jon Favreau’s The Mandalorian, fans tirelessly campaigned for Kennedy’s removal, and for Favreau to take her place. With Kennedy’s contract due to expire later this year, rumors of the two locking horns behind-the-scenes — as Kennedy (supposedly) fights to monopolize her spot atop the Star Wars hierarchy — filled chat boards and subreddits. Well, an insider from deep within Lucasfilm itself (who refuses to be named) alleges otherwise. Kathleen Kennedy and Jon Favreau are reportedly “on pleasant terms,” with Kennedy herself gunning for Favreau to succeed her as president. Lucasfilm isn’t suffering from a “cultural civil war.” There’s no power struggle here. However, it’s presently unclear if Favreau is even willing to assume the position.
According to the aforementioned source, the company has been grappling over how best to characterize the franchise going forward after Kathleen Kennedy and since J.J. Abrams’s turn as an overall visionary of the sequel trilogy. The unverified leaker writes, “Disagreement on what direction to take the franchise has always been a recurring problem. Certain members of the Lucasfilm story group, like Pablo [Hidalgo], desired to see Star Wars resemble a D&D campaign. More aesthetic, less narrative. Others, Favreau and [David] Filoni, are pushing/pushed for a more traditional approach.”
Chilean executive Pablo Hidalgo is a founding member of Lucasfilm Story Group. Dave Filoni is a weathered Star Wars vet, having worked on Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and Star Wars Resistance and having served as one of the writers headlining Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Star Wars Rebels, Star Wars Forces of Destiny, and The Mandalorian. He’s also been green lit to write for several upcoming Star Wars shows, including but not limited to: The Book of Boba Fett, Ahsoka, Rangers of the New Republic, and Star Wars: The Bad Batch. Suffice it to say, these are two Star Wars aficionados who definitely know what they’re doing.
The mystery insider claims otherwise, though, at least in the case of Filoni. He writes, “Filoni isn’t interested nor is he even remotely qualified to run a film studio. He’s much happier working on his own stories.” Dave Filoni’s track record certainly matches up to the leaker’s allegations.
As for Kathleen Kennedy herself, the Redditor asserts she is either going to retire or be bumped up to an even higher position. Either way, her future in the company doesn’t feel portentous at all. Fan reaction would have us believe Kennedy’s place in Lucasfilm is in jeopardy when the opposite seems to ring true; she’s been serving the company for over 9 years now and seems happy enough to depart on her own terms. A fitting conclusion for an exemplary, hardworking producer that has spearheaded over 60 Academy Award-nominated films and three of Hollywood’s highest-grossing features. Either way, Star Wars is in good hands.