Disney CEO Voices Support For Kathleen Kennedy, Looks Forward To Her Directing Lucasfilm For Many Years To Come

Disney CEO Bob Chapek voiced his support for Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy during The Walt Disney Company’s 2021 Annual Meeting of Shareholders today. Chapek was forced to speak up in support of Kennedy when one Texas shareholder dropped the surprisingly aggressive "question" of whether or not Chapek was planning on firing Kennedy and installing The Mandalorian showrunner Jon Favreau as the head of Star Wars. In response to that, Chapek said that "We look forward to having Kathy directing the activities of the entire Lucasfilm operation for many years to come." It seems Disney is fully committed to sticking behind Kathleen Kennedy for the time being.

If you're confused about all this, there's been a sustained (and pretty ugly) campaign within the Star Wars fandom to have Kathleen Kennedy fired and replaced as the head of Lucasfilm. The movement really kicked into the gear following the generally well-received Star Wars: The Force Awakens; Kennedy was at the forefront of building the Star Wars anthology films like Rogue One and Solo, but rumors swirled that behind-the-scenes Kennedy was clashing with the up-and-coming directors she had tapped (Gareth Edwards, Josh Trank, Chris Miller, and Phil Lord), to retain a controlling hand over the shape of the franchise.

Disney CEO Bob Chapek Defends Star Wars Lucasfilm Kathleen Kennedy

Ironically, Kathleen got even more "trouble" with Star Wars fans after The Last Jedi, for letting director Rian Johnson have too much control. The Last Jedi was a pretty dark turn for all involved with making it, with Kennedy, Johnson, and star Kelly Marie Tran receiving the brunt of the online trolling and hate. Solo: A Star Wars Story underperformed in theaters after that, bringing the Star Wars Anthology portion of the franchise to an indefinite halt. The final strike was Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, which pleased little to no one, in its questionable attempt to pave over Johnson's film with a movie that only squandered the Sequel Trilogy storylines and confused the larger Star Wars mythology, rather serving as final pay off to the Skywalker Saga.

While the Star Wars movies have been struggling to find equilibrium within the fandom, The team behind Star Wars' animated and live-action series have been on a meteoric rise. That list includes Dave Filoni (Clone Wars), Jon Favreau (Iron Man), Deborah Chow (Obi-Wan Kenobi), and Taika Waititi (Untitled Upcoming Star Wars Movie), who all directed standout episodes of The Mandalorian. That creative team has made Star Wars TV a mainstream hit; connected the live-action and animated TV series in significant ways (The Bad Batch); and expanded Star Wars live-action TV into an entire universe of multiple series that are now in development (Obi-Wan, Ahsoka Tano, The Book of Boba Fett, Rangers of the New Republic, etc...).

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For now, it looks like that team of successful Star Wars TV creators will remain under Kathleen Kennedy - it will be interesting to see how things go when the next round of Star Wars films are released.

You can stream Star Wars TV and movies on Disney+.