Kathleen Kennedy Teases Future Star Wars Projects Will Adapt High Republic Stories, Touts Company’s Ability To Transparently Communicate Their Storytelling

CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 18: Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall attend "Indiana Jones and The Dial Of Destiny" party at Carlton Beach on May 18, 2023 in Cannes, France. (Photo by John Phillips/Getty Images for Disney)

Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy recently revealed that there are plans to adapt High Republic comics and novels into live-action projects moving forward.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – SEPTEMBER 15: Kathleen Kennedy arrives at the special 3-episode launch event for Lucasfilm’s original series Andor at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, California on September 15, 2022. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)

Kennedy made an appearance on Entertainment Weekly’s Dagobah Dispatch podcast where she was asked, “You’ve had a huge book initiative with The High Republic and all these novels coming out. So is that a space where we’re going to start to see more on screen [unintelligible].”

She responds, “You know it could be because one of the things we talked about in publishing was how we could begin to incubate certain ideas. And in the case of The High Republic there’s been some wonderful storytelling that’s gone on there. It’s not necessarily what’s Leslye’s doing with Acolyte, but it certainly opens up the possibilities of being able to tell stories in that space.”

In contrast, Kennedy was also asked about potentially adapting Cal Kestis and the Star Wars Jedi video games into live-action film or TV series. She answered, “I’ve seen a lot of chatter online about that. It could be really interesting. It’s not something that’s front and center right at the moment.”

Star Wars Jedi: Survivor (2023), Respawn

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She then went on to praise the company’s internal communications when it comes to all of the stories they are working on, “But what’s interesting in the company that we do is everybody across all these lines of business is we all talk to one another.”

“So that often doesn’t happen in situations like this, but because Lucasfilm so many of the people are used to working together we’re very transparent about what the storytelling is that’s going on whether it’s in the streaming space, or the movie space, or books, animation, games, whatever is, eventually it will be some kind of immersive entertainment,” Kennedy continued. “There’s so many things we talk about in just how we use technology with ILM inside the company.”

“So this constant cross pollination of ideas to determine just exactly what stories move into the movie space, what stories move into the TV space, you never know because the creative process is very similar in all of those different spaces. So you don’t have a crystal ball. You see what works and you draw from that,” she concluded.

Star Wars: The High Republic Adventures Vol. 1 #8 “Back Together And Away Again” (2021), IDW. Cover art by Harvey Tolibao.

Kennedy’s comments appear to indicate a massive change in the culture at Lucasfilm because it stands in direct contrast from the creation of the Disney Star Wars sequel trilogy.

Rian Johnson spoke with Cinema Blend and revealed he was given a blank slate for Star Wars: The Last Jedi. When asked whether or not J.J. Abrams provided any character input for The Last Jedi, Johnson said, “No, he was really gracious, in just stepping back and giving us a blank slate to work with. The starting point was The Force Awakens script, which is quite a big, expansive, wonderful starting point. In that way, we are drawing directly from his work. But from that point forward it was a blank canvas.”

LOS ANGLES, CA - NOVEMBER 14: (L-R) Moderator Josh Horowitz and Director Rian Johnson speak at Netflix "Glass Onion:” A Knives Out Mystery” Press Conference on November 14, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. Cr. Eric Charbonneau/Netflix © 2022.

LOS ANGLES, CA – NOVEMBER 14: (L-R) Moderator Josh Horowitz and Director Rian Johnson speak at Netflix “Glass Onion:” A Knives Out Mystery” Press Conference on November 14, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. Cr. Eric Charbonneau/Netflix © 2022.

RELATED: J.J. Abrams Admits The Star Wars Sequel Trilogy Needed A Plan

The Force Awakens and The Rise of Skywalker director J.J. Abrams also admitted the trilogy did not have an overarching plan.

He was asked by Collider, “Do you feel like that trilogy would have benefitted from planning out a very strict three movie story from the very beginning or do you enjoy that kind of creative freedom to kind of take characters different ways and see how that goes?”

He responded, “What I’ve learned as a lesson, a few times now, it’s something that, especially in this pandemic year, working with writers, the lesson is you have to plan things the best you can.”

Abrams continued, “And you always need to be able to respond to the unexpected, and the unexpected can come in all sorts of forms. And I do think that there’s nothing more important than knowing where you are going.”

J. J. Abrams speaking at the 2015 San Diego Comic Con International, for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”, at the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego, California. Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

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The Lost producer then said, “There were projects that I worked on where we had some ideas, but we hadn’t worked through them enough, we had sometimes, some ideas, but then we weren’t allowed to do them the way we wanted to. I had all sorts of situations where you plan things in a certain way and you suddenly find yourself doing something that is 180 degrees different.”

“And then sometimes it works really well and you feel like, ‘Wow that really came together’ and other times you think, ‘Oh my god, I can’t believe this is where we are.’ And sometimes when it’s not working out it’s because it’s what you planned. And other times when it’s not working out it’s because it didn’t…you just , you never really know,” Abrams relayed.

TOKYO, JAPAN – DECEMBER 11: Director J.J. Abrams attends the special fan event for ‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’ at Roppongi Hills on December 11, 2019 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Christopher Jue/Getty Images for Disney)

Abrams then admitted the sequel trilogy needed a plan, “But having a plan, I have learned in some cases the hard way, is the most critical thing. Otherwise you don’t know what you are setting up. You don’t know what to emphasize. Because if you don’t know the inevitable of the story, you are just as good as your last sequence, or effect, or joke, or whatever.”

He concluded saying, “But you want to be leading to something inevitable.”

Ian McDiarmid as Emperor Palpatine in as Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker via Disney+

What do you make of Kennedy’s comments and the fact that Lucasfilm is entertaining the idea of adapting High Republic stories into live-action?

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