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One of the Star Wars galaxy’s leaders is moving on to her next adventure. Lynne Hale, the longtime head of publicity and communications at Lucasfilm who worked closely with founder George Lucas, will retire at the end of 2021 after 35 years with the company.
Hale joined Lucasfilm in 1986 as the company’s sole publicist, working out of an office at Skywalker Ranch. She helped usher in a new era of Star Wars when she led her first major campaign, 1999’s Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, and became known to fans during the leadup thanks to Lynne’s Diaries, a behind-the-scenes video series published on StarWars.com. She also oversaw the campaigns for prequel trilogy titles Attack of the Clones (2002) and Revenge of the Sith (2005).
“George took a chance on me early in my career and gave me the opportunity to not only learn from a visionary filmmaker, but also from someone who cared very deeply about humanity,” Hale told The Hollywood Reporter. “In addition to all the wonderful years of working on the Star Wars franchise, projects such as Red Tails and The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones will forever be a part of me. My bliss has always been connecting with people, so to be able to make lifelong friends with artists, writers, directors, actors, crew members, journalists, photographers and of course my PR family has meant the world to me.”
After Lucas sold the company to Disney in 2012 for $4 billion, its new parent company made more Star Wars projects for the screen than ever, with Hale working on J.J. Abrams’ franchise revival The Force Awakens (2015) as well as Rogue One (2016), The Last Jedi (2017), Solo (2018) and The Rise of Skywalker (2019). She also helped shepherd Star Wars into the Disney+ era with The Mandalorian (2019-present).
Outside of Star Wars, Hale worked on the Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) as well as The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones, the TV show and series of TV films that aired on ABC from 1992-96. The projects filmed in more than 20 countries and saw Lucasfilm create 94 educational documentaries to accompany the series. Hale also worked on the campaign for the Lucas-produced World War II drama Red Tails (2012), which saw her get to know members of the Tuskegee Airmen, the legendary group of Black pilots portrayed in the film.
“Across 35 years of working with her, I’ve never had a colleague more astute, collaborative and loyal than Lynne Hale,” Lucas told THR in a statement. “A good person through and through, she’s one of the mainstays of the Star Wars experience and went on to be a key player in Lucasfilm. I’ve valued Lynne’s sage advice and friendship and couldn’t be happier for her to be realizing her dream of seeking new challenges and adventures.”
During her career, Hale saw seismic shifts in the entertainment industry, from the advent of the fan convention Star Wars Celebration to streaming. She also saw the company grow from 300 employees when she joined to 2,600 globally.
“I have had the joy of working with Lynne throughout her 35 years at Lucasfilm,” said Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy. “Lynne has made many significant contributions to the company in so many areas, especially as Lucasfilm has grown and integrated with Disney. I’m really happy that Lynne will be able to pursue some of her dreams and enjoy the rewards of such a fulfilling career, but we will all miss her contagious smile and enthusiasm!”
Hale lives in Oakland, Calif. and her entire film career has been in the San Francisco Bay Area. Before Lucasfilm, her other work included a role at Saul Zaentz Film Center, the sound mixing and editing studio founded by Amadeus producer Saul Zaentz, and work with Francis Ford Coppola on Peggy Sue Got Married and Gardens of Stone, as well as the Mill Valley Film Festival. She credits her time at Nancy Hult & Company with teaching her the PR business.
At Lucasfilm, Hale was particularly was fond of the fans. She had a goal that each fan letter would receive a response, particularly if it was from a child. She also helped facilitate interactions between actors and terminally ill children whose parents were hoping to brighten their lives.
“Our actors are incredible in these cases. They get involved without question. We don’t publicize it and they don’t want us to,” said Hale. “Mark Hamill has connected with hundreds of kids going through hardships. Dee Bradley Baker recorded a message from Captain Rex letting a little boy know that the clone troopers were with him as he was marching into battle for his bone marrow transplant. The boy played the message repeatedly as he sat in isolation in the hospital.”
Those who spent time with Hale were likely to learn that Lucasfilm was more than a career for her. Star Wars’ ethos of hope, inclusion and community were traits she took to heart.
Said Hale: “So many of our filmmakers and actors send heartfelt messages to kids and adults facing terrible things. When we can do this — act selflessly to help others — it uplifts us all. And it’s also very much what Star Wars teaches us to be. That’s maybe what I’m most proud of.”
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