Kathleen Kennedy Talks Future of Star Wars with The Hollywood Reporter

Following comments from Disney CEO Bob Iger on the decision to put Star Wars films on hold, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about the future of Star Wars and the end of the Skywalker saga.

What’s happening:

  • This week has been packed full of exciting Star Wars news, mostly due to the ultimate fan event, Star Wars Celebration.
  • The annual gathering of super fans was held in Chicago this year where the biggest panel of the event was the one for Star Wars: Episode IX.
  • Kathleen Kennedy, J.J. Abrams, and several of the films cast members took the stage to discuss the last episode in what’s now known as the Skywalker saga.
  • After the panel. Kennedy spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about the future of everything Star Wars.

What she’s saying:

  • Kathleen Kennedy on Episode IX: “We knew we were going to close this up, we knew that even before we started The Force Awakens.”
  • Kennedy on future films: "We are looking at the next saga. We are not just looking at another trilogy, we're really looking at the next 10 years or more.”

Lucasfilm and Disney have already announced new projects are in development from Star Wars: The Last Jedi writer-director Rian Johnson, and Game of Thrones’ David Benioff and D.B. Weiss. That said, the characters, eras, and focus of these new films have not been announced.

  • Kennedy: “This [movie] is the culmination of the Skywalker Saga; it’s by no means the culmination of Star Wars. I’m sitting down now with Dan Weiss and David Benioff…and Rian Johnson. We’re all sitting down to talk about, where do we go next? We’ve all had conversations about what the possibilities might be, but now we’re locking it down."

And with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker set to premiere in theaters on December 20, THR also spoke with director J.J. Abrams about the end of the series.

What he’s saying:

  • Abrams on being asked to helm the final film: “When Kathy called and asked if I’d be interested in coming aboard this movie, I was surprised by how emotional I felt about it. I didn’t expect to feel the way I did, and the opportunity to finish the story we started was something I couldn’t resist.”
  • Abrams on the conclusion of the series: “The beauty of working with [co-writer] Chris Terrio and producing with Kathleen Kennedy is that I think we have found a way — I hope, it’s up for you to decide — to bring this story to a conclusion in a way that feels satisfying, surprising, amusing, shocking, all the ways that a story should make you feel. Mostly, it’s an adventure story about this new generation of characters who have inherited all sorts of things from those who come before. That was, in a way, how I felt about working on this movie.”

Finally, THR asked a few questions of The Rise of Skywalker starring cast:

What they’re saying:

  • John Boyega (Finn): “I’m very proud of the story that J.J. put together, and I’m very proud of the performances. It’s all of us together, and for me, that was enough.”
  • Daisy Ridley (Rey): “I felt a lot of emotion because I was so happy with what we were doing, I was so happy with the people I was working with, the cast and crew was amazing. All of the other stuff sort of falls to the wayside. You’re just trying to do the right thing [for the movie]; that’s all you can do.”
  • Ridley on the film’s title: “I only learned the title last week. I’m still processing.”
  • Naomi Ackie (Janna) on her experience: “a lot of quiet moments sitting very quietly on the carpet floor saying, ‘I just need a second to get over this.’ It can be quite overwhelming, but this experience has been, and continues to be, so positive. It’s helped me grow as a person, to be honest.”
  • Kelly Marie Tran (Rose) on the standing ovation at she received at the Episode IX panel: “I was so emotional. I definitely did not expect it, and I was all, ‘I’m not prepared! I’m not prepared!’ I was just trying to keep it all together.”
  • Tran on appearing in a future Star Wars projects: “I love what Rian [Johnson] did, I love what J.J.’s doing, and I love that I’ve had the chance to be a part of it. I would never put an X on anything.”
  • Boyega on playing Finn one last time in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: “gave me all the pleasure I needed, all the closure I needed.”