Disney may have the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the princess films down pat. When it comes to Star Wars, one of the most beloved science fiction franchises of all time, they have really dropped the ball especially when it comes to the leadership of LucasFilms.
Speaking to Rolling Stone magazine, LucasFilms President Kathleen Kennedy made it clear that Star Wars films would be slow-rolled out. Nothing wrong with that. The problem was her reasoning.
“There’s no source material. We don’t have comic books. We don’t have 800-page novels,” she said. “We don’t have anything other than passionate storytellers who get together and talk about what the next iteration might be. We go through a really normal development process that everybody else does.”
What the heck is Kennedy talking about? Ever since Return of the Jedi, there has been a myriad of novels, RPGs, comic books, video games, young adult novellas, and even children’s books that are collectively known as the Expanded Universe. Everything from the Old Republic, to the Clone Wars, to the rise of the Empire, and to after the Battle of Endor. It either slipped her mind or she is trying to erase years of canon.
Disney, at least, knows about them. After they bought out George Lucas, they said in a statement released in 2014, “In order to give maximum creative freedom to the filmmakers and also preserve an element of surprise and discovery for the audience, Star Wars Episodes VII-IX will not tell the same story told in the post-Return of the Jedi Expanded Universe.” Kennedy is even quoted in the statement, though not about the EU.
To me, this is further evidence that Disney has lost touch with their fanbase. Of course, they did not have to use the EU, but pretending it does not exist or forgetting it exists exposes their lack of the ingenuity of the franchise. It started after the release of The Last Jedi, when director Rian Johnson through a tantrum over the criticism of the film. Instead of accepting the critiques, Disney has not only echoed this tantrum but has doubled down, even as original actors Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill expressed concerns about the movie.
As for Kathleen Kennedy, her not remembering the Expanded Universe is a clear sign that she is not right for this franchise. That is not to say she would not do well in other areas, but Star Wars is not her wheelhouse. She hired mystery box filmmaker J.J. Abrams for the first film, hired hack director Rian Johnson for the next, and instead of hiring someone like Gareth Edwards, who directed the only well-received new entry Rogue One, she rehired Abrams, who started this fiasco we call the Sequel Trilogy.
It is time for Disney to put someone in place who has an actual love for Star War’s rich history in cinema, literature, and gaming. With Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige being tapped to make an entry, perhaps Disney is looking to make a change. Hopefully, they will make one for the better, but considering there track record so far, it is unlikely.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments below. Tell me if there is a comic book, movie, or novel you would like me to review. While you are at it, check out my movie review of Tell Me Who I Am and my article on Star Trek 4’s new director. Don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe for more posts like this one.