It's hard to overstate how successful Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy has been with not just the Star Wars series, but also the number of projects she produced before joining the studio. To celebrate those achievements, the Academy Awards will bestow her and producing partner Frank Marshall the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award.
Kennedy is the first female to receive the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award, which is given to producers “whose body of work reflects a consistently high quality of motion picture production.”
Kennedy's career dates back to Raiders of the Lost Ark, which kicked off a partnership with Steven Spielberg. She served as producer on films such as E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Back to the Future, The Goonies, Schindler's List, Jurassic Park, The Sixth Sense, Munich, and dozens more. One glimpse at her filmography reveals why she is a deserving candidate for the honor.
The producer has proven an integral component of Lucasfilm, helping lead the charge of films like Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and Star Wars: The Last Jedi going on to become some of the more critically-lauded and financially successful films of their respective years of release. Similar to Kevin Feige's role as president of Marvel Studios, Kennedy has helped lay the foundation of the current run of Star Wars films under Disney's ownership.
"We’re talking about the next ten years of Star Wars stories, and we’re looking at narratively where that might go," Kennedy confessed to The Star Wars Show last year when detailing the future of the saga. "Future stories beyond Episode IX with these new characters: Rey, Poe, Finn, BB-8."
Earlier this year, Solo: A Star Wars Story offered Lucasfilm their first disappointment in recent years, with the film underperforming financially when compared to other films in the franchise. A variety of factors contributed to this disappointment, with Kennedy having also admitted that she hopes to look towards unexplored corners of the galaxy far, far away as opposed to regularly exploring familiar characters and events.
"But we’re also looking at working with people that are interested in coming into the Star Wars world and taking us to places that we haven’t been yet," Kennedy added. "And that’s exciting too because it's a vast galaxy far, far away, so the possibilities are endless."
In December of 2019, the Skywalker Saga will culminate with Episode IX. Other projects on the horizon are a trilogy of films from The Last Jedi writer/director Rian Johnson and a series of films from Game of Thrones co-creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss.
Stay tuned for details about the future of the Star Wars series.
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