Kathleen Kennedy has extended her contract with Lucasfilm to remain president for another three years. However, while I will be talking about what I would like to see Kennedy do with the Star Wars franchise moving forward, I will also be mentioning the hate a fellow critic and film reporter had to deal with because of this development.
The news was reported by THR. The extension of the contract means Kathleen Kennedy will be president of Lucasfilm through 2021. This gives her enough time to not only release Star Wars: Episode IX but also continue making plans for where the franchise needs to go next.
Currently, there are two vocal fandom camps out there. The one which supports Kennedy 100% and the other which wants her gone because (for them) she has ruined the legacy of Star Wars. Now, I am not a die-hard fan of Star Wars. It wasn’t, and still isn’t, a big thing in my country.
So, I think I fall under the group of fans that have watched the series but aren’t too invested in the franchise as a whole. I appreciate what Kennedy has done to bring diversity into the film series. But I also think she could have done better.
Ignoring those that are being hateful for the sake of being hateful, whether it is white fanboy supremacy or whatever you want to call it, I can understand the reasons behind certain fans thinking Finn and Rose Tico could have been handled a lot better.
Shipping wars aside, Rose kissing Finn before falling unconscious was cringy. I don’t care about the gender, kissing someone like that is something I am not a fan of. Also, what is up with Disney telling stories where saving someone you love/like (or think you love/like) and dooming the rest is a good thing to do. I am not a fan of seeing heroes making such decisions.
Anyway, the point is that when you try to diversify a story, characters of color need to have personal arcs and development which can help the audience (regardless of their ethnicity) feel invested in them rather than think the said characters are taking up space or being annoying.
That is why having diversity behind the camera is just as important as having diversity in front of it. So, I hope Kennedy takes steps to fix that.
Then there’s the entire issue of Kennedy being at war with Star Wars fans that have stuck with the franchise for decades. I don’t want to get into all of that. But I have to say I don’t like seeing a studio (or related creatives) vilify a portion of a fandom no matter how hateful it is being.
Studios and creators need to do better than fight with a fandom. I don’t know the degree this battle ended up harming Solo, but you can tell something happened.
This month, Bob Iger announced slowing down the number of Star Wars movies being made. This lets you know Disney realizes there is trouble in the fandom and the House of Mouse doesn’t want to repeat what happened with Solo.
Time will tell if Kathleen Kennedy does, too, and if she is even able to course correct. Can she continue catering to just the portion of the fandom that supports what she has been doing or will she understand the need to change a few things to try and appease the fans that want her gone? Time will tell.
Now, coming to the other thing I wanted to talk about. It is disappointing to see the level of backlash women critics tend to get. It feels similar to how women gamers aren’t considered real gamers.
Once the news about Kathleen Kennedy extending her contract was reported, critic Grace Randolph had to deal with a number of people telling her she was wrong about her previous prediction about Kennedy being fired by Disney this year and how her sources were never right.
I don’t have anything against telling someone you don’t agree with their opinion. I don’t agree with what Randolph says all the time. And that is okay.
What I don’t like is the backlash women have to deal with online. It is sad to see how a female critic with an impressive track record of sharing scoops and making insightful predictions about what is going on in Hollywood is considered a hack job when a single report from her isn’t deemed 100% credible by some.
It is a good thing Randolph decided to defend herself. But again, I am disappointed she had to (due to certain people), considering her track record.
Being all for Kathleen Kennedy doesn’t mean you should ignore what Grace Randolph has to say about how the current news was reported instead of being directly announced by Disney.
There is something fishy about Kennedy still being president of Lucasfilm. But if you don’t think so, that’s okay, too. You don’t have to be aggressive about it.
What do you think of Kathleen Kennedy sticking around? Let us know.
Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.
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