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Kathleen Kennedy Opens up About the Star Wars Franchise: What Worked, What Didn’t, and Where It’s Going

Discussion in 'SWNN News Feed' started by SWNN Probe, May 18, 2022.

  1. SWNN Probe

    SWNN Probe Seeker

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    Vanity Fair got the chance to sit down with Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy for their June cover story, in which they focus on the future of Star Wars on television. After releasing some snippets from the interview, with quotes from Kennedy on both the television and film side of the franchise, the full piece has now been released on the magazine's website.



    Star Wars has had television projects in the works for many years, be it animation with The Clone Wars or Rebels, or George Lucas' scrapped Star Wars: Underworld live-action series he was developing for ABC. Lucasfilm doubled their investment into TV when Bog Iger started circulating the idea of creating Disney Plus. In 2017, when this was happening, Iger tasked Kathleen Kennedy with coming up with new live-action Star Wars series that would air on the service.



    When that happened, Kennedy gave a call to Jon Favreau, to see if he'd be interested in developing a new project for them. As Kennedy recalls, she didn't even give Favreau any specifics, just wanted to test the waters and see if he'd like to join the Star Wars family. As we now know, and as Kennedy told Vanity Fair, Favreau signed up immediately. And then, Kennedy exercised her producing abilities and paired him up with Dave Filoni, who she knew had ambitions to go from the animation world to live-action. She said:



    [​IMG]



    According to the executive, when they find a director or a storyteller that they like, they let them go nuts, as long as they stick to a certain framework defined by the fundamental Star Wars values. But what made it special about Favreau, unlike what she's found on the film side, is that he's willing to make a long-time commitment:



    [​IMG]



    One of the key ideas that Favreau brought to the table was the character of Grogu, a.k.a. Baby Yoda. When asked about this, Kennedy confirmed that this was indeed the plan from the very beginning, though Favreau and Filoni had very long talks about it. Favreau was pushing for it, while Filoni was a bit more apprehensive. Kennedy said:



    Kennedy then added that what sold her on the idea of having the character in the show is that it was a bold idea, which is something she's always embraced:



    [​IMG]



    There has been some speculation for a while that Favreau initially wanted to make a Boba Fett show, but Kennedy didn't, and they came to an agreement with Din Djarin. Kennedy immediately shut down those rumors, when asked if Favreau's pitch was initially a Boba Fett show:



    Kennedy was then asked about one of the downsides that the Star Wars franchise is coming across right now -- since they are trying to tell one, unified story, they aren't really allowed to course correct that much in their storytelling. This is something that other franchises like Batman or James Bond are allowed to do, when things no longer work.



    Of course, when answering this, she ignored the fact that Star Wars canon has been making small retcons for many years, and it's been especially flagrant in the last few years with the comics and books (we published an editorial on the matter a few months ago, you can check it out here). Kennedy said the following:



    [​IMG]



    Kennedy's answer is especially interesting, as she gives the example of Obi-Wan Kenobi, a show that already nullifies her point twice -- the series cast a new actor to play Luke Skywalker (Grant Feely) and stars Ewan McGregor as the character that Alec Guinness first made iconic with the original trilogy. According to the executive, what convinced her that recasting original trilogy actors is not the way to go was 2018's Solo: A Star Wars Story. She said:



    Staying on the feature film side, Vanity Fair brought up the topic of Rey and her ascendency. J.J. Abrams arguably built a cloud of mystery around the character in The Force Awakens, and one of the long-running theories about her ancestors was that she was the granddaughter of Obi-Wan Kenobi. Kennedy confirmed that this was indeed an idea they discussed, but ultimately didn't go through with it:



    [​IMG]



    She also said that there are a lot of internal discussions about moving on from the Skywalker Saga at the moment:



    And to help them decide what to do next, Kennedy said that trying something on the publishing side of Star Wars is a good way to test the waters for them:



    And what could that be? Virtual Reality is a possibility, Kennedy said, but they want to go even beyond that:



    [​IMG]



    In the immediate future, however, the company has a lot of projects in the works. For instance, they are less than ten days away from the release of Obi-Wan Kenobi, with the first two episodes coming out on May 27th. This is what Kennedy could tease about the series:



    Another highly anticipated project they are developing is The Acolyte, with Leslye Headland as the leader. The show will not include many characters we're familiar with, as it will take 100 years before the events of the original trilogy. Kennedy said about the show:



    [​IMG]



    Moving on to the feature film division, Kennedy has confirmed that they are indeed rethinking Rogue Squadron, and that Taika Waititi's film is probably up next. However, she alleges that they have a roadmap in place:



    She then added that the Star Wars movie Kevin Feige is supposedly producing is just a rumor:



    This is something very bizarre for her to say. The movie was announced by Alan Horn in 2019, back when he was Disney's Chief Creative Officer (and therefore, Kathleen Kennedy's boss), and the major Hollywood trades reported in early 2021 that Michael Waldron (Loki, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness) would be the main writer. Not only that, but Kevin Feige acknowledged it in November 2019 and then in January 2021, shortly after Waldron's involvement got out. In addition, Michael Waldron has also acknowledged the movie multiple times and most recently confirmed that he's now hard at work on it. The Vanity Fair writer did acknowledge this last interview in the story, adding that his talk with Kathleen Kennedy happened in March, before Waldron made those comments.



    The timing of the interview is especially relevant, as Kennedy added that two months later (that is, May), they would give more specifics about the upcoming films:



    She's obviously referring to the upcoming Star Wars Celebration, which will kick off on the 26th in Anaheim, California. The panel where they will address them will happen that day, at 11 am PT. Stay tuned for that and more!



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    #1 SWNN Probe, May 18, 2022
    Last edited: May 18, 2022
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  2. Darth Derringer

    Darth Derringer Rebel General

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    The interesting thing about this quote from Kathleen Kennedy is that it contradicts what Jon Favreau said in an interview with Dylan Callaghan that was published a year and a half ago. In that interview, Favreau said that he approached Kennedy with his idea for a Star Wars series that included four spec scripts. It certainly never came across from Favreau as "Kathleen asked me to develop a Star Wars series for LucasFilm."

    No biggie either way. I just found it a bit curious.
     
  3. Martoto

    Martoto Rebel Official

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    But Faverau pretty much verifies everything Kennedy says in the same article.
     
  4. DailyPlunge

    DailyPlunge Coramoor

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    Yeah, I don't see a contradiction.
     
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