04 February 2020 1005 Views

In defence of Kathleen Kennedy. Can we Please be a Little bit Nicer to the Lady in charge of LucasFilm?

by James Murphy

Kathleen Kennedy: I like Her. So there!

She’s a Prominent, Power-Playing, Producer. She runs the franchise you all claim to love. But she’s also just a girl, looking at an industry..trying to make her way in the Universe? Resist the Dark Side, please!

What is WRONG with you people? Yeah, you. Star Wars ‘fans’ who claim virtual custody of the fairy-tale fantasy space opera thing. SO much negativity and hostility toward one, imho, rather lovely lady: Kathleen Kennedy. Every second blog /You-tube channel calls for her sacking/ blacklisting/ public shaming / imprisonment for life for crimes against the genre. Stop it! STOP IT NOW!

Let’s face facts. Yes, Rise of Skywalker underperformed and disappointed both critics and fans. Sure. I get it. But it was still a hit. Prima Facie, the film turns a profit. The only ‘flop’ in this girl’s run is Solo. And that was down to a poor release date. Simple as that. Oh and the lack of Harrison Ford: the guy who, also let’s face it, made Force Awakens such a big hit.

 

Kath has had a Marvel level machine foisted upon her by the Alan Horn /Bob Iger regime at Disney, I fear? That’s NOT to cast any aspersions on their vision; the Marvel / live action remake of cartoons treadmill is a buzzing success. But you cannot apply one structure to another antipathetic genre. When Kennedy mentioned there was a lack of material to build on, she did not mean an absence of old comics /books per se.

What she meant was, there was a lack of direct adaptable platform. It’s arguably harder to draw on 40 plus years of canon than it is to pick a storyline from a graphic novel or a fantasy saga, be it Game of Thrones/Lord of the Rings or Iron Man. Star Wars has elements of that, sure. But it’s also born uniquely from cinema, of movie visionary legacies and it is therefore built, in each and every case, from scratch.

It follows that the proper custodian of the brand has three, opposing and yet necessarily connected tasks. First: produce content, regularly, in a saturated market. Second? Allow a filmmaker to somehow work within that boundary and plant an auteur stamp on things, because that’s how George Lucas started it all anyway. Third, one must do that, from scratch, in most cases, to fuse those disparate goals.

It is for THAT reason that you got Last Jedi (took risks) and then Rise of Skywalker (played it safe: just as lovely imho). there have been a few misfires and actual..well..firing of people along the way. But it’s also testament to Kathleen’s expertise, determination and sheer love for the fandom, that you got quite so much content to enjoy or hate /debate and birth your own platforms from in turn. If you don’t like it? Don’t count it as canon.

Parallel: I loathe the current iteration of Doctor Who; not for its political flag waving but because it is lacking imagination (directing Jodie Whittaker to basically play David Tennant, instead of letting her model her classically trained charisma to the full?) with neither the soulful character beats of Russell T Davies nor the plot-smith mechanics of Steven Moffat. And I do think Chris Chibnall (current showrunner) is at fault. But guess what: LOTS of people defend him and are happy to an extent with his work, despite dwindling ratings. So: if /when he is shafted by the BBC..I will not be rejoicing. Because he’s a human being. And it’s only television. I have 57 years of Dr Who (well, 40, give or take..but I digress) to enjoy in any event until I can rejoice in the next reboot.

Same with Star Wars: You HAVE content to disagree with. It will go on, beyond Kathleen Kennedy’s reign (which, incidentally, is not propped up by social politics; she EARNED her position as a Producer in some of Cinema’s greatest blockbusters).

By all means, speculate on the future of your beloved franchise. But if you claim to love it as you do? Then don’t spew hate around the lady with the frankly unenviable job of pleasing everyone and thereby keeping it afloat, or taking risks and so alienating old school popcorn blockbuster fans.

If ‘KK’ does retire / move along? Fear not, the girl will be fine. Money hardly a worry, I suspect? And she has an adoring husband in Frank Marshall. But don’t make it personal, either. Give the girl a break.

It’s only a movie, right? May the Force be with you. X

ps: yes, Kathleen is also REALLY FIT. But I would never allow that to cloud my opinion. Coz am not a sexist troll. Even if others might be. 😉

 

 



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