Kathleen Kennedy’s Lucasfilm ruined Star Wars; What will she do to the new Indiana Jones?
This December saw the fifth film release from Lucasfilm since being acquired by Disney Studios in 2012, with Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise Of Skywalker being released to both critical and general audience disappointment. Indeed, the track record of Lucasfilm under the leadership of studio head Kathleen Kennedy has widely been regarded as a mixed bag. Though all the films produced by the studio have been box office successes, they continue with the trend of disappointing (and in some cases even angering) the fanbase for Lucasfilm’s biggest franchise.
Now that the “sequel trilogy” for Star Wars has ended, Lucasfilm is beginning to turn its focus toward other properties that are in the studio’s stable, which includes the beloved Indiana Jones franchise. Though the last installment in the series – Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull – is widely considered to be the worst of the series, there is still enough interest and good will for the Indiana Jones franchise to warrant a fifth installment, which Disney and Lucasfilm have been developing for the past few years.
Though Kathleen Kennedy has been involved in every Indiana Jones movie ever made, her duties were primarily in the producing department, where she demurred to the decisions of director Steven Spielberg and producer George Lucas – the two men primarily responsible for the creative direction of the Indiana Jones films. But with Kennedy’s rise to the head of Lucasfilm and being granted greater creative influence over the films her company produces; many are wondering how this will affect the next Indiana Jones movie.
Kennedy’s track record as a creative executive has been decidedly mixed since her appointment to the CEO position of Lucasfilm in 2012. Her Star Wars movies have almost all been plagued by production issues brought on by poor creative planning, culminating in the complete reshoot of the franchise’s biggest failure – SOLO: A Star Wars Story – in 2018. Even now, the Star Wars TV shows planned for the Disney+ streaming service are being delayed indefinitely as the producers frantically try to “fix” the stories for them. Both the Obi-Wan Kenobi and Cassian Andor shows have been pushed back as their scripts are re-worked to try and make them better.Also on rt.com ‘Star Wars’ virtue-signaling or franchise’s ‘New Hope’? Producer promises film directed by WOMAN
So, the question when it comes to the upcoming fifth Indiana Jones film is: how big of a hand does Kathleen Kennedy have in its creation? Historically, the Indy films have been primarily a collaboration between George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, and Harrison Ford, with all three men having to agree on the creative choices before going forward. In regard to The Crystal Skull, both Spielberg and Ford famously demurred to George Lucas’ vision for the fourth film in the franchise, which produced rather unfortunate results. With George Lucas now taking a less active role in film production, that leaves the question as to whether Kathleen Kennedy will be adding her questionable creative voice to the decision-making process.
Harrison Ford has proven in recent interviews that he has little interest in many of the franchises he helped to popularize, wanting to be killed off in Star Wars so he wouldn’t have to deal with the character of Han Solo anymore. (In fact, he was the one who demanded that Han be killed off in The Force Awakens so he would not have to return for further Star Wars films.) Now in the twilight of his career, Harrison Ford, like George Lucas, seems more interested in retirement than being a leading man. Even Steven Spielberg in recent years hasn’t been able to recapture the magic of his heyday, with high-profile box-office failures such as The BFG and The Post marring his storied filmography.
There is a great deal of anxiety among the Indiana Jones fanbase that Kathleen Kennedy’s influence and the lack of passion from the original trio behind the franchise’s success will lead to another instance of one of pop culture’s most beloved properties being ruined, much like Star Wars was. With The Crystal Skull already leaving a bad taste in the fanbase’s mouth, the pressure is on the fifth Indiana Jones film to perform up to the standards set by the original three films in the franchise. But with a retired producer, an apathetic leading man, a director past his prime, and a studio head who single-handedly drove the most beloved film franchise in the world into the ground, the real question remains: Will Indiana Jones 5 be good?
Time will certainly tell. But as of now, all signs are pointing to: No.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.