Disney’s Star Wars era finds itself in a fascinating position now that the franchise finds itself free of the shackles of the Skywalker Saga sequel trilogy.
On one hand, The Mandalorian is arguably — other than Rogue One, of course — the best piece of Star Wars content to be created since the original trilogy. On the other, though, is the fact that The Rise of Skywalker was an undoubtedly calamitous conclusion to a trilogy that desperately needed to end on a high note following the New Hope retread that was The Force Awakens and the highly divisive (although, in my opinion, very good) The Last Jedi. The Rise of Skywalker was very much *not* the win that Disney needed, as the concluding chapter was also definitely the worst.
As it turns out, fans aren’t the only ones who aren’t all too thrilled with the Mouse House’s Star Wars tenure thus far, as Marcia Lucas — editor of iconic films such as American Graffiti, Taxi Driver, and the original Star Wars trilogy — recently ripped Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and director J.J. Abrams, who helmed both The Force Awakens and The Rise of Skywalker.
In an excerpt from the recently published book Howard Kazanjian: A Producer’s Life, Lucas slammed the current Star Wars brain trust, accusing them of fundamentally misunderstanding the franchise and its appeal:
“I Like Kathleen. I always liked her,” Marcia Lucas says in Rinzler’s book, Howard Kazanjian: A Producer’s Life. “She was full of beans. She was really smart and really bright. Really wonderful woman. And I liked her husband, Frank. I liked them a lot. Now that she’s running Lucasfilm and making movies, it seems to me that Kathy Kennedy and J.J. Abrams don’t have a clue about ‘Star Wars.’ They don’t get it. And JJ Abrams is writing these stories — when I saw that movie where they kill Han Solo, I was furious. I was furious when they killed Han Solo. Absolutely, positively there was no rhyme or reason to it. I thought, You don’t get the Jedi story. You don’t get the magic of ‘Star Wars.’ You’re getting rid of Han Solo?”
Lucas continued with her criticism, saying that Kennedy and Abrams created “terrible” storylines for the sequel trilogy, specifically when it came to Rey, the main character:
“They have Luke disintegrate,” Lucas says. “They killed Han Solo. They killed Luke Skywalker. And they don’t have Princess Leia anymore. And they’re spitting out movies every year. And they think it’s important to appeal to a woman’s audience, so now their main character is this female, who’s supposed to have Jedi powers, but we don’t know how she got Jedi powers, or who she is. It sucks. The storylines are terrible. Just terrible. Awful. You can quote me…JJ Abrams, Kathy Kennedy — talk to me.’”
To be fair to Disney, Lucas was also highly-critical of the much-maligned prequel trilogy, revealing that she cried after seeing The Phantom Menace for the first time because she thought it was so bad (Marcia was married to George Lucas from 1969 to 1983, by the way).
“George is, in his heart and soul, a good guy and a talented filmmaker. I wish he would’ve kept directing [other kinds of] movies. But when I went to see Episode I—I had a friend who worked at ILM, who took me as a guest to a preview—I remember going out to the parking lot, sitting in my car and crying. I cried. I cried because I didn’t think it was very good. And I thought he had such a rich vein to mine, a rich palette to tell stories with. He had all those characters,” Lucas said.
Put simply: yikes. Just absolutely scorched-Earth from Lucas here. And I thought The Rise of Skywalker left a bad taste in *my* mouth — good lord.
Kennedy will get her shot at redemption when Patty Jenkins’ Rogue Squadron drops in 2023, a project that was admittedly far more tantalizing prior to the absolute trainwreck that was Wonder Woman 1984. Perhaps more exciting is the original film in the works from Taika Waititi, which currently has no release date at this time. There’s also the litany of Star Wars series in the works at Disney+, including but not limited to: The Bad Batch, Star Wars: Visions, The Book of Boba Fett, Andor, Obi-Wan Kenobi, The Acolyte, Ahsoka, Lando, and Rangers of the New Republic.
At this time, the next Star Wars project to be released will be The Book of Boba Fett, which is expected to drop sometime in December.