Star Wars: In Kathleen Kennedy We Trust

Resisting the negative narrative

Around the Galaxy: Star Wars News & Notes – June 15, 2018

So, while I was out vocationing, my avocational world seemed to come down around me: Solo “failed,” Star Wars fandom went crazier than usual, and people–most of whom have no qualifications to do so–were still calling for Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy to step down.

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Then, in the ultimate kick to the gut, there were actual rumors about KK stepping down… Really?

Stuck as I was in the throes of real-world work, I wasn’t able to get too deeply into the fray. Thankfully, when I finally came up for air, saw Solo: A Star Wars Story for a fifth time (it’s still brilliant), and dipped my toe back into “Star Wars Google,” I waded through the detritus (a fancy word for junk) until I found, “Kathleen Kennedy Is Still The Best Person To Make ‘Star Wars’ Movies.”

Yes, it’s a week old, but Forbes’ Mark Hughes pulled a damn good piece together, and just the headline will annoy all the right people, so here goes with some common sense take-aways to sufficiently annoy some more “fans”:

Despite the constant refrain of negativity directed at Kathleen Kennedy, Lucasfilm delivered three critically successful Star Wars pictures in three back-to-back years, earning A grades from audiences and a combined $4.4+ billion in global box office. It doesn’t matter what you think about the process of director selections, the changes made during various productions, or other aspects of how the sausage gets made that we regularly hear about nowadays — the bottom line is the bottom line, and Kennedy has overseen a remarkably successful (at every level) franchise revival.

And:

If we’d been aware of all of the arguments, tensions, and troubled productions during the original Star Wars trilogy, would fans and media have called for studio heads and producers to be removed from the franchise? Solo is the first real failure of the entire Star Wars franchise, but let’s be clear — the film still received positive critical reception and an A- grade from audiences, so it’s failure is strictly financial.

But while we are at it, there was one particular point from Hughes’ piece that simply made me happy; namely, what the hell is everyone talking about?

What do you really know about Kathleen Kennedy, by the way? In case you are unaware of her career highlights, let me offer you a very brief (and admittedly woefully inadequate) summary: Kennedy studied film in school, and worked hands-on in TV production. As a producer and assistant she worked on a wide range of terrific successful films such as Raiders of the Lost Ark, E.T., Jurassic Park, Schindler’s List, War of the Worlds, and Lincoln. She has been nominated for two Oscars. She co-chaired Lucasfilm with George Lucas before taking over as president when Disney bought the company… In other words, let’s not pretend that Kennedy somehow is unqualified for her job, or is not cut out for making these types of films, or that she has anything less than a fantastic record of being involved with a long list of some of the very best and most successful films ever made throughout her entire career.

Hughes’ piece is uniquely rife with common sense, but also reaches crescendos of truthful, fact-based vitriol seen mostly in short, late night posts to Twitter. However, as I sit here and read it a week later I can’t help but nod my head and smile, particularly at the following line, which would have been a fitting end paragraph to any post (including this one):

If you scream in anger about seeing other people represented, if you harass and insult and threaten marginalized people for daring to exist and to appear in movies, then you and your beliefs have no place in modern storytelling or modern society (except as villains to be defeated and cast aside forever).

Amen. JB

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John Bishop

A graduate of Boston and Northeastern universities, John Bishop became the beat reporter for BostonBruins.com prior to the B’s 2006-07 hockey season. While with the Bruins, “Bish” traveled North America and Europe to cover the Black & Gold’s every move via laptop, blog, and smart phone. The co-author of two books, Bygone Boston and Full 60 to History: The Inside Story of the 2011 Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins, John covered the XXI Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver in 2010 and the B’s 2011 championship run and banner raising before taking a faculty/communications position at a prep school outside Boston in 2013. He lives with his wife Andrea and sons Jack, Scott, and Luke in central Massachusetts.

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