At the Star Wars: The Force Awakens premiere in Hollywood, California Monday night, Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucasfilm, took a moment before the assembled crowd, the first wide-ranging audience to see the film. In her address, she talked about how coincidence, fate, or maybe the Force itself led to the assemblage of talent in the theater.
She went on to tell an incredible story about connections she, Star Wars creator George Lucas, director Stephen Spielberg, writer Lawrence Kasdan, and writer/director J.J. Abrams share.
“In 1962, an 18-year-old boy named George Lucas was drag-racing his car. He skidded out of control and wrapped his hotrod around a tree in Modesto. My step-brother’s grandfather pulled George from the wreckage that nearly killed him," she said.
“Fifteen years later, I stood in line for A New Hope, just like many of you, only to find myself later going to work with George Lucas and his best friend, Steven Spielberg. Steven’s next movie was Raiders of the Lost Ark," which was produced by George Lucas and written by Lawrence Kasdan."
But wait, it gets even crazier. As Steven Spielberg mentioned on the red carpet, he's known Abrams since the latter was 16 years old.
"After its release in 1982, a box of super-8 movies Steven made as a kid had long been lost, but were found. I hired two 16-year-old young filmmakers to restore them. One of those boys was J.J. Abrams," Kennedy said. That relationship came to a head when Kennedy took the reins at Lucasfilm, and brought in Abrams to direct Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
She finished, of course, with a Star Wars-infused tearjerker of a line.
"I had to ask myself: was every one of these events, this whole progression, moving toward this? Is it the Force? I think so. If I’m right, then tonight, may the Force be with us all."