Jun. 2nd, 2012

lazypadawan: (Default)
Yesterday came the surprising news that George Lucas was as serious as a heart attack about his plans to retire when film producer Kathleen Kennedy was named co-chair of Lucasfilm Ltd..

If you've watched movies for the past 30-40 years, you've seen her name many a time, usually along with her husband Frank Marshall. Kennedy and Marshall served as producers on most if not all of Steven Spielberg's films. (She served as a producer on all of the Indiana Jones movies.) Her movies have racked up over $5 billion at the box office and scores of Oscar nominations. Kennedy is a power player in Hollywood but has been close to Lucas long enough for him to trust her.

One does have to wonder if positioning an active film producer at the top means that Lucasfilm will be cranking out more movies and not just whatever weird features Lucas concocts in his spare time. NIMBYs might have driven a digital studio out of Lucas's property in Marin County, CA but it could very well get built elsewhere. Kennedy can bring together top new talent and get more projects made.

I also think though that Kennedy's role is transitory. She's co-chair just so Lucas can show her the ropes and get her used to the job then I think she'll run the whole kit and kaboodle. Now, according to Wikipedia, she's about 9 years younger than Lucas. I predict she'll hang around for the next 5-10 years then search for the right successor to take the reigns. My theory is that this is to position Lucasfilm's future as a little studio in its own right that will have an easier time getting projects financed and released.

There was some conversation on Twitter between me and other fans yesterday about Lucas retiring and if the fanboy media industrial complex had anything to do with it, based on Lucas's comments earlier this year. I think this was going to happen someday no matter what. As much as we'd like to believe Lucas will breathe his last parked at a desk coming up with more Star Wars goodness, he's got other ideas and other priorities. I'd rather he'd go ahead and do what he wants to do instead of lying on his deathbed regretting he hadn't gotten around to it.

That said, the backlash probably nudged Lucas in that direction. No more fanboys, poseur geek sites, and pop culture lemmings turning him and his films into punchlines. It's unfortunate it had to happen on that note.

I will also be a little concerned about a Star Wars without Lucas's influence. Will Clone Wars turn into a fanservice fest? Are future Star Wars projects going to be vulgar, degenerate messes without the moral center inherent to the mythos? (I don't know what to think about this supposed mature "1313" video game.)

We'll have to wait and see.

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