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Kathleen Kennedy explains why MCU approach won't work for Star Wars
We just received a ton of new information about Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, including new photos and intel on the film's story. We also gained some new insight on how Star Wars itself will be proceeding once the film is out, given by the head of Lucasfilm, Kathleen Kennedy. Let's just say that they aren't going to be making a stand-alone Captain Tarpals movie anytime soon.
In the same Vanity Fair article that gave us a true embarrassment of riches today, Kennedy talked about how the massive rollout strategy for movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe will not work when it comes to the world of Star Wars. Both franchises are owned by Disney, which has certain demands that even Star Wars might have trouble meeting.
“I think there is a larger expectation that Disney has. On the other hand, though, I think that Disney is very respectful of what this is, and right from the beginning we talked about the fragility of this form of storytelling," she says, going on to add, "Because it’s something that means so much to fans that you can’t turn this into some kind of factory approach. You can’t even do what Marvel does, necessarily, where you pick characters and build new franchises around those characters. This needs to evolve differently.”
It's worthwhile to note a few things here. Kennedy does not say that the MCU does what it does with a "factory approach." She mentions the one thing first, and brings up Marvel second — she is not demeaning the way that Marvel (very successfully) rolls out their films.
What she seems to make clear, however, is that neither method will work for the galaxy far, far away. They can't just churn these movies out on a conveyor belt, because, as she says, this form of storytelling is fragile. While the MCU can take different characters and do movies with very different approaches (Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Thor: Ragnarok are almost nothing alike, for instance), that method will not work here.
At least, it hasn't worked in the past. She doesn't mention it, but focusing a stand-alone Star Wars film on one character is precisely what they did last year with Solo: A Star Wars Story, and that movie proved not to be a financial success. Kennedy's job is now a difficult one — put out enough movies to satisfy Disney's rabid demands (Disney chairman Bob Iger pushed Solo) while also being careful of not oversaturating people's desire for them.
While cinematically the franchise will be taking a pause after this December (the next Star Wars movie will come out in December of 2022, helmed by Game of Thrones' David Benioff and D.B. Weiss), the world of the Wars is so much more than just movies now. With a focused canon and a fully interconnected mythology, Star Wars will continue to come to audiences through television (The Mandalorian in live action, Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Resistance in animation, plus more), books, comics, and games. There's also the little matter of the Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge theme parks, which will be opening very soon.
The Vanity Fair article itself mentions that under George Lucas fans were always a little "starved for product." Nobody's starving for product these days (not if they're going to get a Disney+ subscription, that's for sure), but cinematically, Kennedy seems like she and her team are going to be very careful when it comes time to dole out the films.