Star Wars is in trouble right now. Exactly how much trouble depends on how they handle the current state. They mismanage what is going on now and it could ruin the franchise. They handle these issues correctly, the problems are a mere hick up. We walk a saber’s edge. And its all Kathleen Kennedy’s fault…..or is she?
Kathleen Kennedy is the president of Lucasfilm. She is the face of control with anything going on in Star Wars. Whether right or wrong she gets the blame and accolades of what happens. What if she is only the Vader though. What if the true villain, the Palpatine truly in control of the problems, is Bob Iger! What if its actually uncle Bob that is mishandling the franchise. Hear me out on this.
Kennedy Took over the franchise from Lucas. If you received this kind of toy would you not be giddy and ecstatic with all the toys you have to play with? This is one area where Kennedy did mess up. Kennedy is a leader with an agenda for sure. She has stated over and over things about pushing women into the forefront both as characters and directors. She wanted new and upcoming directors to advance the story telling. She started building the top floors before she properly set the foundation. Here ensued the director problems we have been having.
THE DIRECTOR DISASTERS
Josh Trank was the first to mysteriously disappear from the director’s chair. Rumors swirled as to why he was not at Celebration and why he eventually departed Star Wars.
Then we get Gareth Edwards. Something was not gelling, presumably in the editing room. Kennedy brings in an assistant director/editor to help clean up Rogue One. It worked! Although its seen as a blight, Kennedy took an action that benefitted the film, and it worked.
Rian Johnson was the one director so far that had zero issues with production and sailed right on through the movie making process. However, the release was a bit of a new issue. The fan base split venomously. The problem here was more that a risk was taken. Instead of playing cookie cutter, they tried to be new and original. It had mixed results.
Now we have the monetary disaster that is the Solo movie. Lord and Miller come in as a hot pair in Hollywood and are given the Solo movie. However, with most of their filming done, word gets back to Kennedy that something isn’t working. The decision is made to axe Lord and Miller and eventually to bring in Ron Howard. Howard puts together a good, albeit safe Star Wars movie. Again it feels like Kennedy made the right move when the issue arose.
IGER BEHIND SOLO ISSUES
Yet we have a movie that tanked at the box office for the first time in Star Wars history. Why? Most are blaming Kathleen Kennedy, but the decisions that led to its fatal box office had more to do with Bob Iger than Kathleen Kennedy. Let’s look at what the biggest causes were in the Solo let down.
First and foremost is the release date. Solo came out in May when the previous three films had dominated the December holiday market. Star Wars is the immortal kid on the block right? It did well in May before right? Not this time. Not only have movie releases dramatically changed since the 2000s, but it was also on the heels of major titles like the Avengers and Deadpool.
Back when it was being bantered about if Howard could even hit the May target, rumors started to fly about Lucasfilm wanting a December release date, but the movie stayed in May. Kristian Harloff of Collider Jedi Council cited a report from Starwarsnewsnet.com that talked about Lucasfilm wanting December but the no didn’t come from Kennedy. It came from Bob Iger. Iger has refused to show Star Wars any favoritism. Why would Iger move Star Wars to December and threaten a Disney tentpole like Marry Poppins?
Another problem was where was the build up to Solo? We didn’t even get our first look at the film until three months before the release. Where were the toys and books and advertising? Most people thought Disney was just trying hard not to cross-advertise with The Last Jedi. This now turns out to be false. Bob Iger was not worried about the Last Jedi. He was protecting Avengers. Ken Napzok of Collider stated he talked with a Target manager. Target was being told it could not merchandise anything from Solo that would compete with Infinity War, mainly no end cap displays. I know when I looked through stores, I never saw anything from Solo other than a few toys mixed into basic merchandising until the film came out.
Iger is the one making all the big decisions when it comes to Star Wars and when it comes to prioritizing, Star Wars is not only not the top franchise, it has to compete against all the other Disney franchises such as Pixar, live action remakes, Marvel’s 2-3 films a year. Now with the Fox Entertainment deal apparently about to be finalized, add in Deadpool, Xmen, Apes, Fantastic Four, Avatar, Alien, Predator, Kingsman, and that’s just the bigger titles. Is anyone seeing a crowding issue here??
Kennedy is reportedly now playing her Sabacc cards closer to the vest than when she started. Directors will also be a more experienced brand. This is good for Star Wars. Marvel can play fast and loose because who know the finer details of Antman and Guardians of the Galaxy. If you are going to do Kenobi, Solo or Fett, there are beats and feels and looks you MUST hit. Otherwise, it’s not Star Wars.
Kennedy has taken some risks and rushed some decisions, yet she has corrected the mistakes she has made. Iger, on the other hand, is an example of what happens when studio heads who know nothing of the franchise or its fan base get heavy handed and mess things up drastically.