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Kathleen Kennedy says that following the negative reception to Solo: A Star Wars Story, Lucasfilm is primarily focused on expanding George Lucas’ universe beyond the Skywalker saga — and not looking to tell new stories with the iconic characters played by new actors.
In a new interview with Vanity Fair, the president of Lucasfilm spoke about the lessons the studio has taken from the past decade of exploring a galaxy far, far away. That includes lessons derived from fan and critical backlash — among them the decision to cast Alden Ehrenreich as a young Han Solo after Harrison Ford originated the character and played him across numerous films.
As “one of the first ideas that came up when the company was sold,” she said, Kennedy took Solo to screenwriter Larry Kasdan (whom she has known “forever”), and both “genuinely believed at the time it was a good idea.”
But the decision to do an origin story for one of the franchise’s most beloved characters ultimately ended up being a “learning moment” — and one that ultimately saw Donald Glover as a younger Lando Calrissian receive a lion’s share of the Solo-focused film’s praise.
“Some people have talked about how, well, maybe Solo should have been a TV show. But even doing Solo as a TV show without Harrison Ford as Han Solo … it’s the same thinking,” Kennedy reflected. “Maybe I should have recognized this before. We would never make Indiana Jones without Harrison Ford. Having just finished the fifth movie, I can tell you, there wasn’t a day I wasn’t on set where I wasn’t like, ‘Yes — this is Indiana Jones.'”
Kennedy went on to say that the studio has now taken this approach with all of its classic Skywalker saga characters. “We also can’t go do something with Luke Skywalker that isn’t Mark Hamill,” she noted at another point in the interview. “We’re not going to suddenly go try to do that.”
This pivot in how the studio sees building out on the Star Wars universe was “vital” to the franchise going forward, she says. And it will impact whether fans see more chapters explicitly focused on the Skywalker saga.
“Just staying within the construct of George’s storytelling, to keep chipping away at that, I think would be wrong,” she explained. “It’s our job to step away now, but still have a connection to the mythology that George created. That won’t stop. But we are moving on from the Skywalker saga. That’s what’s taking a lot of time, discussion and thought right now.”
Kennedy also revealed that this changed outlook on how to grow the Lucas-created franchise has already been implemented, pointing to the studio’s decision to do the Disney+ Obi-Wan Kenobi series, which will be told through the singular vision of director Deborah Chow.
“The beauty of Obi-Wan Kenobi is Ewan [McGregor] desperately wanted to do this. He has been so engaged in the entire process, and our excitement and reason for doing this is that the real Obi-Wan wanted to tell this story,” she said. “We got excited by the idea that Ewan McGregor wanted to come back, and Hayden Christensen wanted to come back. Just as fans, everybody inside the company was like, ‘Let’s see if we can make this work.'”
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