My Thoughts: What is going on with Lucasfilms and Disney?

A couple of days ago it was announce that the Obi Wan Kenobi series was put on hold, after it was officially announce at last year D23 by Lucasfilms President and lead Producer for the series Kathleen Kennedy. She said the standalone series will be shooting soon and the scripts are complete. The bad news was reported by Adam Chitwood from Collider, who reported the series is on hold because Lucasfilms President and the lead producer of the Kenobi series Kathleen Kennedy was not happy with the scripts and sent everyone who was assign to work on the series home, and wants the scripts rewritten before they go out and shoot the series. Adam’s report broke the internet and Star Wars fan share their frustration on Twitter and social media after the news broke. As a fan this is very disappointing news to hear, because we’ve been hearing reports of either a Kenobi standalone movie or series was in development by Lucasfilm for years. Borys Kit from The Hollywood Reporter, who gave an update on the bad news by saying Lucasfilms is looking to hire new writers as the original writers for the series is out. THR is saying that only two episode were fully written and Lucasfilms had issues with the direction of the main story. One of their sources says Lucasfilm plan to reduce the number of episodes from six to four episode standalone series. Debora Chow will still direct the series, and Ewan McGregor is expected to reprise his role from the prequel series as Obi Wan Kenobi.

No comments have been made from Disney or from Lucasfilms President Kathleen Keneddy. However Ewan McGregor who is out promoting Birds of Prey is thrown to the wolves to clean up Disney and Lucasfilms mess by telling Adam Bankhurst from IGN “It’s just slid to next year, that’s all. The scripts were really good. I think now that Episode IX came out and everyone at Lucasfilm’s got more time to spend on the writing, they felt like they wanted more time to spend on the writing.” McGregor said. “I’ve read about eighty, ninety percent of what they’ve written so far, and it’s really, really good. Instead of shooting this August, they just want to start shooting in January, that’s all. Nothing more dramatic than that. It often happens in projects, they just wanted to push it to next year. It will have the same release date, I don’t think it will affect the release date. They’re still shooting towards having the film [show] release when it was going to be originally.”

MY THOUGHTS

One of the things that stood out from Ewan’s quote was when he said “the scripts were good.” Which confirms that they are rewriting the scripts, because the english word “were” is a past tense, and if Ewan thought the scripts “were good” then that means in my opinion the scripts that were written had a lot of edginess to the series. Colin Trevorrow’s draft of his script for his episode nine that is leaked out in small parts from Robert Meyer Burnett you tube channel. Robert reviews an early draft written by Colin Trevorrow called the Duel of the Fate. Colin did conform that this indeed this was his take for episode nine. Colin was fired by Kathleen Kennedy because of creative disagreements. Base on what I listen to about the early draft from Robert Meyer Burnett’s video review. Colin Trevorrow Star Wars story had a lot of edginess to it, which Kathleen Kennedy does not like because most of her producing career is family friendly movies base. One example edginess from the draft is Rose Tico getting tortured, and Kylo Ren who is getting burned after watching an old hologram from Vader’s home. Checkout the concept art and confirmation from Colin Trevorrow on his twitter account that this indeed his episode nine take.

Star Wars Rogue One movie is the most edginess movie she produce in her career. Now who knows who had final say Rogue One either Disney or Lucasfilms. I think that depends who you asked. Base on the sequel trilogy now that it is all out there those films are meant to be family friendly because of the amount of cheesiness an over the top comedy with feel good elements. Despite what anyone thinks of The Last Jedi including myself. Colin Trevorrow script is very good because it has a edginess and serious story take for Star Wars that was missing through out this sequel trilogy. I think the reason the scripts are getting a complete rewrite is because of to much edginess for the Kenobi series. Mandalorian had a lot of edginess to it because of Jon Favreau ties or relationship to Bob Iger not Kathleen Keneddy when he was making the Mandalorian series.

I don’t want to attack anyone or put blame on one person. Disney owns Star Wars and allows Lucasfilms to supposedly have creative direction on all things Star Wars. I give half of the blame to Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy for allowing it to get this bad. This is the second time she’s lied to fans or in business terms “Lip Service to the star wars fan base.” The first time she lied is when after the first trailer for Rise of Skywalker was release at 2019 Star Wars Celebration by telling the media the plan was always to bring back Palpatine from the original trilogy. Check out below from twitter from her interview at Star Wars Celebration 2019.

Kathleen Kennedy says Palpatine’s return was in the blueprint for a long time. “We had not landed on exactly how we might do that, but it was always [to be in Episode IX].” pic.twitter.com/SDqqKHgJ7C— Kevin Polowy (@djkevlar) April 12, 2019

J.J Abrams who spoke with Nicole Laporte and KC Ifeany from fastcompany.com days before Star Wars Celebration 2019 said that when he was hire to return to write and direct episode nine for Lucasfilms. He said they did not have a direction or story to wrap up the sequel series only a deadline that has to be reached. Abrams adimt he wanted to say no to return as director and writer, but was convince to return to write and direct the final sequel film by his close peers. Here is his quote from their interview with Abrams.

Abrams: “To have no script and to have a release date and have it be essentially a two-year window when you’re saying (to yourself), you’ve got two years from the decision to do it to release, and you have literally nothing . . . . You don’t have the story, you don’t have the cast, you don’t have the designers, the sets. There was a crew, and there were things that will be worked on for the version that preceded ours, but this was starting over. And because this was such a mega job, I knew at the very least I needed a cowriter to work on this thing, but I didn’t know who that cowriter would be. There was nothing. So the first thing I did was reach out to a writer who I’ve admired for years, Chris Terrio. who I didn’t really know, to say, “Listen, would you want to write Star Wars with me?” And he screamed.”

If you want to read the entire interview here is a direct link to check it out. It is a good read and a little in depth of what was going on at the time post The Last Jedi at Disney and Lucasfilms. https://www.fastcompany.com/90331236/exclusive-j-j-abrams-on-star-wars-apple-and-building-bad-robot-into-a-hollywood-force

The other half of the blame for what happen to Star Wars goes to the big bosses over at Disney such as Bob Iger. Either Disney help solve the problem with Star Wars or stay out of it and allow Kathleen Kennedy to do her job she was assign to do. The bottom line is Disney and Lucasfilms has to work together and be on the same page for the future of Star Wars. If Disney wants edginess for Star Wars like we seen with Star Wars Rogue One and The Mandalorian series. Then Disney must step in and reassign Kathleen Kennedy out of Star Wars an have her focus on the Indiana Jones series and let someone else who shares Disney or Bob Iger vision for the future of Star Wars. I believe someone at Disney leaked her name out there as to why the Kenobi series is on hold. I am sure Disney is not happy they have another egg on their face by Lucasfilms since it is out there she made the decision to place the series on hold weeks before it was schedule to shoot. I think this is the first sign of Disney trying to push Kathleen Kennedy out of her position at Lucasfilms by having her smeared in the public narrative.

I think Disney needs to do what Warner Brothers did with the DC Entertainment group who were responsible for the Batman v. Superman and the Justice League movie. Warner Brothers hired Walter Hamada who cleaned house in DC Entertainment. His direction was to tell one movie at a time and not focus on a shared Universe. So far he has done a fantastic job with Aquaman, Shazam, and Joker. Two of the three movies made over a billion dollars world wide with all three movies getting positive reviews, and a better quality of DC Movies we have had since Wonder Woman which was responsible by Patty Jenkins improve for the Wonder Woman movie. Walter Hamada has Birds of Prey coming out in two weeks, with Wonder Woman 84 this summer. Their goal is shapping up to have two DC movies per a year. Here is THR report on DC and Walter Hamada cleaning up DC Entertainment’s mess. https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/joker-batman-suicide-squad-movie-plans-making-sense-dcs-moves-1119489

It is very clear Lucasfilms and Disney cannot get on the same page. It means there must be a shake up at Lucasfilms. Disney doesn’t need to shake up anything within Disney, because they own Lucasfilm. So Lucasfilms needs a shake up by Disney to get someone new to be the president over at Lucasfilms, Who ever the new Presidnet would be needs to clean house with the old regime who followed Kennedy. They need someone with a clear direction that fits their vision for the future of Star Wars. Kathleen Kennedy is a great producer who has a great pulse to do family friendly movies. Star Wars needs to be more than family friendly since The Mandalorian and Rogue One has proven fans want to see some edginess and a serious take for the Star Wars movies and series. I think it might be better to let David Filoni to control the Star Wars TV division and bring someone else to run the movie division. Having two people running two different division at Lucasfilms will make things a lot easier and set the chain of command at Lucasfilms to be better clear.

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