Report: Kevin Feige WON’T Replace Kathleen Kennedy at Lucasfilm, Rian Johnson’s Trilogy Will Proceed as Planned
A certain rumor from a notoriously-unreliable source has made the rounds suggesting that Kathleen Kennedy is on thin ice and that they’re looking for a replacement from the other studio heads, with Kevin Feige being the most likely one. Now, Peter Scrietta of Slashfilm has authored a piece explicitly debunking this, along with dispelling any suggestion that Rian Johnson’s trilogy is getting cancelled.
The “Rumor” That Instigated The Report
I’m not going to link to their video because they don’t deserve the attention, but the person who came up with the original report has had it out for Disney ever since one of their subsidiaries terminated their contract to work for them. This person notoriously started the ridiculous conspiracy that Disney pressures people in the press to sabotage competing movie studios to increase profits on Disney films (ignoring that Disney were unable to keep The Los Angeles Times quiet over so much as a spat related to unfavorable reporting on Disney’s theme parks, and that this would be much more complex an operation). More recently, this person blamed Kelly Marie Tran for her own harassment on the internet – that speaks volumes about the kind of person they are and exactly why I’m not going to give this person’s videos any traffic.
But this person’s “inside scoop” that seems to be spreading in specific circles suggests that Bob Iger, unhappy with the Star Wars franchise since The Last Jedi hit theaters, held a meeting with top brass from Lucasfilm at Pinewood Studios, along with representatives from other Disney subsidiaries like Marvel Studios and Pixar, to let Kennedy know that she was on thin ice and that, while she would keep her job through the release of Star Wars Episode IX, she would be encouraged to resign afterward. The big problem with firing her now is that apparently no executive is wanting to do this – although, with Kevin Feige apparently attending the meeting, he could be one candidate to replace her. One name explicitly mentioned by this person was J. J. Abrams, which would imply that he’d have to leave Bad Robot to take over Lucasfilm. The meeting was apparently held in a soundproof room with security guards around it to keep anything from leaking out.
Why It’s Full Of Crap
Here’s what’s wrong about the “rumor” that this person is pushing: literally every single thing about it.
Firstly, Pinewood Studios is simply where the movies are filmed. It’s not even a Disney-exclusive studio, as Sony’s James Bond movies are regularly filmed there, and everything from Paramount’s Transformers: The Last Knight and Universal’s Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom to Warner Bros.’s Me Before You and 20th Century Fox’s Victor Frankenstein have filmed there. Any and all Lucasfilm-related meetings would happen either at Lucasfilm’s HQ in San Francisco or at Disney’s HQ in Los Angeles, and the only people who would know if Kathleen Kennedy was leaving would be Bob Iger and Kathleen Kennedy, who would keep any and all information on this level as secret as possible. That alone is a big enough tip-off that we’re dealing with a fake rumor right off the bat, but it only gets crazier from here.
See, apparently Marvel Studios and Pixar were there as well! You know, the same Pixar that just had a mix-up at the highest level due to John Lasseter’s departure from the company over sexual harassment and would be unlikely to lose the execs they just hired to take his place! The same Marvel Studios that’s busy planning nine years of movies after Avengers 4 which Kevin Feige will almost certainly oversee! How convenient that they’re both at a studio where, once again, they’d be filming instead of making creative decisions! How convenient that someone happens to get a super-duper-secret scoop from an alleged meeting that was designed to prevent super-duper-secret scoops! And how convenient that absolutely nobody in Hollywood wants the job of making friggin’ Star Wars! Seriously, STAR WARS!
I could go on, but let’s get back to the reason we’re here: Slashfilm debunked it.
Kevin Feige Explicitly Denies He’s Replacing Anyone; Johnson’s Movies Are Safe And Sound
Scrietta asked Kevin Feige about whether or not he had any plans to do Star Wars after Avengers 4. His response was pretty conclusive:
“No. Only in my backyard with my action figures.”
So yeah – even though he’s a big fan he’s not interested in running the show. Lord knows that Feige will probably be involved with the production of Marvel movies until the day he croaks at this point (provided he updates his contract, which supposedly expires this year unless Marvel’s snagged him for another decade or so, which they’ve probably done already), so I’m sure he’ll be content to make Star Wars movies with action figures in his spare time.
Scrietta’s report also states that Disney and Lucasfilm alike were happy with The Last Jedi before, during, and after its release and that any backlash in response to the movie will not affect the continued development of the spin-offs that Rian Johnson will write and produce. As he’s said before, he currently only has commitments to film the first film, and the other two may be handled by other directors.
So How Long Will Kathleen Kennedy Stay At Lucasfilm?
Obviously, though, Kennedy will not be President of Lucasfilm forever, and she’ll have to select a successor eventually. There’s no question that she will stick around through the end of production on Star Wars Episode IX. However, we should probably take things a step further and say that she’ll stick around through at least the release of Indiana Jones 5, since that movie would partner her with her husband Frank Marshall and her longtime collaborator Steven Spielberg. Whether or not she’ll make more Lucasfilm movies after that is uncertain, but as of right now, we should be able to say with confidence that she’ll be involved with Lucasfilm until at least the end of next year, plus however long it takes to make Harrison Ford’s fifth and final Indiana Jones movie.
Grant has been a fan of Star Wars for as long as he can remember, having seen every movie on the big screen. When he’s not hard at work with his college studies, he keeps himself busy by reporting on all kinds of Star Wars news for SWNN and general movie news on the sister site, Movie News Net. He served as a frequent commentator on SWNN’s The Resistance Broadcast.