A brand new rumor claims that The Walt Disney Company will renew Kathleen Kennedy’s contract as president of Lucasfilm.
This rumor comes from scooper Mikey Sutton at Geekosity.
Sutton states, “Sources indicate there were never any discussions to fire Kathleen Kennedy despite rampant online speculation and rumors.”
Sutton even quoted one source who told him, “It’s not like Kathleen wrote or directed any of those films. In Disney’s minds, they brought in billions to their bank accounts.”
Another source told Sutton, “Kathleen Kennedy won’t be Lucasfilm president at this point only if she decides to retire. Disney strongly believes she will continue guiding Star Wars to greater heights.”
This sourced added, “She will have the power she’s always had.”
The rumor is not out of left field. Current Disney CEO Bob Chapek has lavished praise on Kathleen Kennedy for her leadership at Lucasfilm.
Back in March, Chapek appeared at a virtual conference hosted by Morgan Stanley where he was asked by Morgan Stanley’s Ben Swinburne, “What are you guys doing? What are you and Kevin and the team doing to make sure that Marvel continues to thrive particularly as you weave in Disney+ and the amount of content coming to us is going up, pretty dramatically?”
In response to a question about Marvel Studios and Kevin Feige, Chapek answered by praising Kennedy. He responded, “I would say the situation is the same for Marvel as it is Lucas. And it goes to speak to the talent of not only Kevin and his team, but Kathy Kennedy and her team over at Lucas.”
“We are really fortunate to have both groups being led by such stellar, creative talent,” Chapek added.
Later in his response, Chapek showered more praise on Kennedy and Feige, “That’s where they are at their best. Managing that mythology so there are little pieces here and there that they dribble and they all connect. It’s really amazing. Geniuses.”
He went on to call Kennedy “an absolute treasure for us.” He said, “Well, just like Kevin and Kathy and Sean at the studio, Jimmy, Dana, Peter, and John are absolute treasures for us from a creative standpoint. Driving this machine, but giving you the type of content that you saw at the Investor conference.”
Under Kennedy’s leadership, Star Wars has seen it’s box office hauls massively decline. As reported by The-Numbers, The Force Awakens grossed $2.065 billion worldwide. It earned $936.6 million at the domestic box office. Following its theatrical run it earned $191 million in domestic video sales.
The Last Jedi would only earn $1.332 billion worldwide. It’s domestic gross fell to $620.1 million. It’s domestic video sales declined to $100 million.
The Rise of Skywalker only grossed $1.072 billion worldwide. The domestic take dropped to $515.2 million. Its domestic video sales plummeted to $66.56 million.
Kennedy also oversaw the first Star Wars box office disaster with Solo: A Star Wars Story. The film only earned $393.1 million at the global box office and $213.7 million at the domestic box office. It’s domestic video sales only totaled $56 million. The film had a production budget of $275 million.
The other major picture released under Kennedy was Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. The film grossed $1.055 billion at the global box office and $532.1 million at the domestic box office. It’s domestic video sales totaled $87.5 million.
Sutton claims an insider argued “that the Original Trilogy’s sequels, 1980’s The Empire Strikes Back and 1983’s Return of the Jedi, couldn’t top 1977’s initial Star Wars, either.”
That’s certainly true. The original Star Wars film made $775.3 million at the global box office and $460.9 million at the domestic box office back in 1977. The Empire Strikes Back grossed $549 million at the global box office and $291.7 million at the domestic box office. The third film, Return of the Jedi, grossed $475.1 million globally and $309.2 million domestically.
The decline between the original Star Wars and The Empire Strikes back was only 29%. And the decline between the original Star Wars and Return of the Jedi was only 38.7%.
In contrast the decline between The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi was 35.5%. The decline between The Force Awakens and The Rise of Skywalker was over 48%. Kennedy’s films definitely had much sharper declines, not to mention her reign of Star Wars includes a money loser with Solo: A Star Wars Story.
Not only did the box office decline, but so did fan scores and ratings. On IMDB, The Force Awakens had a weighted average of 7.8 out of 10. The Last Jedi declined to a weighted average of 7.0 out of 10. The Rise of Skywalker fell even further to a weighted average of 6.5 out of 10.
The original Star Wars film has a weighted average of 8.6. The Empire Strikes Back weighted average is 8.7 and Return of the Jedi’s rating is 8.3. Notably, all three films are rated higher than the three sequel trilogy films made under Kennedy. And Empire Strikes Back has a slightly higher score than the original Star Wars film.
Kennedy has also overseen a massive decline in Star Wars toy sales during her time as president of Lucasfilm. In fact, Diamond Select Toys president Chuck Terceira claimed there wasn’t a lot of demand for sequel trilogy toys.
He stated, “I will say from what we have seen, the sales on the products from 7 & 8 were not too strong.”
When pressed on why there aren’t more sequel trilogy toys, Terceira said, “As I mentioned before, we are working on some, but I have to ask..are you SURE there is lots of demand for these ‘very’ requested characters?”
He added, “We just, as of yet, have not seen enough fans that would want to buy a bust have that personal affection for some of those new characters that makes sense to justify going to production, but for sure we’re watching it and perhaps as more time passes, fans affection for those characters will grow.”
Fortunately, for Kennedy, the decline in Star Wars toy sales for their sequel trilogy films was off set by a demand for Mandalorian toys. CNBC reported back in February that Hasbro’s Star Wars toy sales increased by 70% with the reason for the increase being The Mandalorian.
While Sutton claims Disney credits Kennedy for The Mandalorian, Kennedy herself has given the credit to Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni.
Speaking with Fantha Tracks, Kennedy was asked, “From a storytelling point of view, what were your priorities going into ‘The Mandalorian?’
She responded, “Well, the most important decision made by Jon was the decision to focus on the Mandalorians inside the “Star Wars” mythology. The fact that they are in this metal armor meant we didn’t have to deal with everyone being in human form.”
“That was extremely important, because it gave us some flexibility and forgiveness, frankly, in what we were trying to do with the technology. So that was a really important decision, and an idea that Jon had right from the outset,” she added.
But maybe the biggest mark against Kennedy is that her reign over Lucasfilm significantly divided the Star Wars fan base and has actually driven people away from Star Wars altogether.
She was in charge when the company not only fired The Mandalorian star Gina Carano, but also condemned her. In a press statement, Disney announced her firing saying, “Gina Carano is not currently employed by Lucasfilm and there are no plans for her to be in the future.”
The spokesman added, “Nevertheless, her social media posts denigrating people based on their cultural and religious identities are abhorrent and unacceptable.”
Kennedy’s reign over Star Wars also saw a massive insertion of divisive identity politics. A recent example came at the end of March when Star Wars promoted a new cover to celebrate what they called #TransDayOfVisibility.
They wrote on Facebook, “In honor of #TransDayOfVisibility we’re proud to unveil an exclusive cover highlighting Terec and Ceret, trans non-binary Jedi, currently featured in Marvel’s The High Republic comic. We support trans lives and we are passionate and committed to broadening our representation in a galaxy far far way #TDOV”
To understand how divisive this is, one only has to look at a recent letter from Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of the Catholic Diocese of Arlington. In his letter titled “A Catechesis on the Human Person and Gender Ideology,” Burbidge instructs the Catholic faithful to “avoid using ‘gender-affirming’ terms or pronouns that convey approval of or reinforce the person’s rejection of the truth. It is not harsh or judgmental to decline to use such language.”
The Bishop adds, “In the broader culture, Catholics may experience significant pressure to adopt culturally-approved terminology. However, in no circumstances should anyone be compelled to use language contrary to the truth. The right to speak the truth inheres in the human person and cannot be taken away by any human institution.
In Solo: A Star Wars Story they also made Lando Calrissian into a pansexual claiming he was interested in droids.
Not only has Star Wars now become a vehicle for divisive identity politics, but the creators the company hired would actively attack long-time fans of the franchise.
Rian Johnson infamously referred to critics of The Last Jedi as manbabies. When one Twitter user expressed his opinion that The Last Jedi was awful to Twitter user Geek Girl Diva, Johnson replied saying, “Don’t feed the manbabies, Shana.”
What do you make of this new rumor? Do you expect Kennedy’s contract to be renewed?