Lucasfilm President and lead producer of the Star Wars franchise Kathleen Kennedy has had her contract renewed for another three years, through 2021.
Kennedy became President at Lucasfilm in 2012 when Disney acquired the company from George Lucas for $4 billion. Since that time she has overseen four Star Wars films which have grossed over $4.5 billion at the box officer in less than four year’s time. This deal locks Kennedy in to oversee the final film in the sequel trilogy, Star Wars: Episode IX, which is currently in production and set to release in 2019.
The move to extend Kennedy’s contract will come as a surprise to many given the trouble the last two films have encountered. While Star Wars: The Last Jedi grossed over $1 billion at the box office, it received substantial backlash from fans and mixed reviews.
The following Star Wars film to be released, Solo: A Star Wars Story, had a very disappointing performance at the box office and a number of production issues. Kennedy fired the tandem director team of Chris Lord and Phil Miller less than a year before the film was scheduled to be released and a significant amount of re-shoots had to be done.
Disney CEO Bob Iger accepted full responsibility for Solo’s trouble at the box office, acknowledges that the film was released too soon and that Disney needs to slow things down with how many new Star Wars projects are being released. With the huge amount of film and television projects in development for Star Wars at Disney, over saturation is a serious danger among the fan-base.
Despite Iger’s claim that things should slow down, fans will be getting more Star Wars soon, with the animated series Star Wars: Resistance premiering on the Disney Channel next month on October 7. The series is set six months before the events of Star Wars: The Force Awakens and follows Kazuda Xiono, a Resistance spy and pilot.
Star Wars: Episode IX is set to be released on December 20, 2019.