Could the all-powerful head of Lucasfilm be flying ‘Solo’ after the summer?
A new report warns: “The talk out there is of a September changing of the guards.”
This refers to growing rumours that Kenendy is under huge pressure after the disastrous box office performance of the Han Solo movie. The legendary producer has run Lucasfilm since 2012, when George Lucas sold his studio to Disney.
Although industry pundits and some sites support the studio head, there has been an extraordinary backlash against the Star Wars franchise and specifically Kennedy herself since the divisive Last Jedi hit cinemas. The remarkably poor performance of Solo is being attributed in part to a massive ongoing fan boycott of Star Wars movies.
Money talks in Hollywood. It may be a dream factory but is also the film business and the business of show only works when the tills are ringing.
Kenendy authorised the hiring and then firing of Solo directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller which necessitated reshoots which experst estimate may have almost double teh final cost of the movie.
It needs around $500million just to break even, but is currently languishing on $274million worldwide after a poor opening fortnight, with further drops predicted.
The Last Jedi also took $1.3billion, against The Force Awakens $2billion. Still impressive, but with much talk again that core fans were abandoning the franchise in protest at changes of tone and treatment of iconic characters.
With two major new trilogies being planned by Rian Johnson and the Game of Thrones creators, plus spin-off movies for Obi-Wan Kenobi and Bobo Fett, Disney will be eyeing the recent figures nervously.
The new reports in influential Hollywood newsletter The Ankler also suggest that Kennedy may be tired of all the attacks and negativity, plus a punishing workload.
It says: “While Kathleen Kennedy worked wonders relaunching this property from the abyss of the Lucas prequel trilogy and turning it into a bigger than ever all-devouring cultural force, there has to be more than some thought that it’s time for new blood at the helm. The talk out there is of a September changing of the guards.”
The report adds: “There’s also plenty of reason to believe that Kennedy herself is tiring of this. The fights, the bad press – can’t be fun after a very gilded career…
“This whole thing is just looking adrift, on-screen and off. Behind the scenes, there are the director changes, the last minute scrambles, the press tours overwhelmed by explaining the messy product. For the film blogger/media world to be raising eyebrows of skepticism against Star Wars, takes a lot. And that’s where they are. On screen, prequels, standalones, new visions, fidelity to the old vision – it’s completely confused where all this is headed, both narratively and just in terms of creative vision.”
Many fans and industry figures are looking to George Lucas’ acolyte Dave Filoni to be the man to ‘save’ Star Wars.
SOLO A STAR WARS STORY IS OUT NOW