George Lucas will always be the master when it comes to Star Wars storytelling. (Remember, the major complaints of the prequel trilogy centered on the overuse of CGI and poor scripting/acting, not the story itself.) In recent years, however, there emerged an heir-apparent to take over the creative direction for the franchise.We’re talking about the man responsible for Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels. Not to put too fine a point on it, but The Clone Wars is widely regarded as having some of the greatest storytelling in the entirety of Star Wars. So why then did company president Kathleen Kennedy seemingly snub Dave Filoni for a VP role at Lucasfilm?
Dave Filoni has been a member of the Lucasfilm creative team since working with George Lucas himself to create the animated series The Clone Wars. The series has earned numerous accolades, including multiple Emmy Awards. Most credit Filoni’s storytelling, and the manner in which his stories fully embrace the heart and soul of Star Wars, as the reason. Fans were therefore ecstatic to learn he was jumping to live-action Star Wars storytelling. Filoni will direct the pilot episode of The Mandalorian, the first-ever, live-action Star Wars series in franchise history.
Did Kathleen Kennedy snub Dave Filoni for Lucasfilm VP position?
There seemed to be no one better suited to guide the future of the franchise than Filoni. Instead, we recently learned that Kennedy tapped Michelle Rejwan to fill the role of Senior Vice President of Live-Action Development and Production. Sure, Rejwan has shown flashes of talent. (She was part of the production team for Star Trek: Into Darkness and 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens.) However, she’s only been with Lucasfilm for four years.
As we previously noted, most fans could care less about the gender of a Lucasfilm producer or director. They just want whoever is in charge to tell a good story. With a resource like Dave Filoni, that choice seemed clear. Notwithstanding, Kennedy went with the relatively untested, still-new-to-Star-Wars Rejwan instead.
Given the direction in which the last two films have taken the Star Wars franchise, doing so seems a risky gamble. And let’s face it: Kennedy’s other gambles haven’t exactly instilled a lot of confidence in her leadership, either. Hiring Lord and Miller to direct Solo: A Star Wars Story was a total bust. Tapping Rian Johnson to direct The Last Jedi? That’s led to far more fan consternation than the contrary. Even J.J. Abrams spoke up about the lack of cohesive direction at Lucasfilm.
Why Dave Filoni didn’t get this particular Lucasfilm VP nod remains a mystery. Here’s hoping Kennedy’s gamble pays off… this time.