By now you’ve all heard that David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have abandoned their planned Star Wars trilogy. Some are blaming the deal they struck with Netflix as the root cause. Now it seems that the Netflix deal may be the result, not the cause, of their split from Star Wars. So why did they leave? It’s looking more and more like Kathleen Kennedy may be the source of Lucasfilm’s production woes, after all.
The Game of Thrones showrunners certainly aren’t the first to leave the Star Wars franchise in recent years. Phil Lord and Chris Miller were summarily dismissed from Solo: A Star Wars Story. Colin Trevorrow left Episode IX before it ever became The Rise of Skywalker. And then there were “creative differences” with Rogue One director Gareth Edwards. So what exactly is going on over at Lucasfilm?
Kathleen Kennedy to blame for Lucasfilm’s revolving door of directors?
In a new article over at Variety, we seem to get some insight into the Lucasfilm creative process. Or, rather, the lack thereof, according to their “insider”:
When Kennedy and her team pitched these filmmakers on joining the “Star Wars” family, sources say they were promised some measure of creative control. However, multiple insiders said new ideas were commonly shot down as Kennedy and her team were only looking for people to stick to the company line.”
It’s unclear, however, where that “company line” exists. Rogue One vaulted to the top of many fans’ all-time list of Star Wars favorites. Lord & Miller’s direction for Solo: A Star Wars Story, on the other hand, was said to be too “slapstick” for Star Wars. Yet…. Kathleen Kennedy stuck with Rian Johnson for The Last Jedi. His divergence from the Star Wars norm angered many fans and divided the fan base.
Thus Benioff & Weiss leaving perhaps creates more of a cloud on Kathleen Kennedy and her leadership than it clears. As Variety notes:
[T]here are questions about whether the abrupt departures of key talent points to a problem in how directors and writers are being vetted and hired.”
Even JJ Abrams, who directed both The Force Awakens and The Rise of Skywalker, at one point hinted at disarray within Lucasfilm. Looking back, there were so many poor decisions with regard to Solo. (And, many would argue, with The Last Jedi, as well.) Contrarily, Rogue One has, and the upcoming Disney+ series The Mandalorian appears that it will have gotten Star Wars exquisitely right.
The common denominator in all of this is, of course, Kathleen Kennedy. So tell us, Kathleen: what exactly is your plan for Star Wars?