Kathleen Kennedy’s Exit May Be Imminent Amid Disney’s Reported Restructure

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Ewan McGregor (left) and Kathleen Kennedy (right) at D23 Expo

Credit: Lucasfilm

Ever since Star Wars creator George Lucas sold Lucasfilm, Ltd. to The Walt Disney Company — led by then-CEO Bob Iger — in 2012, Star Wars fans have been divided about the direction the studio has taken with President Kathleen Kennedy at the helm.

george lucas and c-3po star tours
Credit: Disney Parks Blog

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From the controversy surrounding the plot of the sequel trilogy — Episode VII – The Force Awakens (2015), Rian Johnson’s Episode VIII – The Last Jedi (2017), and Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker (2019) — to the Star Wars: The High Republic multimedia initiative that has not exploded in the way the Lucasfilm Story Group clearly hoped it would, Kennedy has had some missteps in greenlighting certain projects.

kathleen kennedy disney investor day 2020
Credit: Disney Investor Day Live Stream 2020

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However, as Lucasfilm President, it is certainly worth noting that she is also responsible for giving the green light to showrunner Jon Favreau and executive producer Dave Filoni’s The Mandalorian, which — thanks to Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) and Grogu (AKA “Baby Yoda”) — has become arguably the most successful project in the Star Wars franchise since one of the greatest sequel films of all time, Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980).

grogu grinning in the mandalorian
Credit: Lucasfilm

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Despite Kennedy’s successes, there are many in the Star Wars fan community who would like to see her leave her post, with some even calling for Favreau or Filoni to take over as Lucasfilm’s big boss.

The most recent update from Disney, however, indicated that Kennedy won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. In March 2021, current CEO Bob Chapek shared that, “We look forward to having Kathy direct the activities of the entire Lucasfilm organization for many years to come.”

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carl weathers, jon favreau, kathleen kennedy, gina carano, dave filoni, and pedro pascal take a selfie
Credit: Daniel Boczarski/WireImage for Disney

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Now, though, new information from Business Insider indicates that Kennedy’s status — along with the status of other executives like Alan Braverman — could be changing, sources say:

One rumor going around Disney is that Chapek plans to stop putting executives on multiyear employment contracts to get greater flexibility to hire and fire, a sign of how he may be seeking to put a bigger stamp on the company. The studio exec also predicted Chapek had planned some restructuring at the company this fall.

Some of Iger’s closest lieutenants, the public-relations consigliere Zenia Mucha and the general counsel Alan Braverman, are hitting the exits, which will give Chapek more freedom to alter Disney’s power structures. Disney is working to replace Mucha and using the opportunity to overhaul its corporate communications strategy, two sources told Insider.

Related: Gina Carano Has Been Fired From ‘Star Wars’

bob chapek with mickey and minnie
Credit: Disney

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While Insider doesn’t specifically mention Kennedy, there’s no doubt that she’s top of mind for the company when it comes to the reported restructuring. 2021 is, after all, a contract year for Kennedy, who is currently one of the producers — along with Steven Spielberg — on Indiana Jones 5 starring Harrison Ford.

In 2018, she was signed to a three-year extension that officially ends on October 30, 2021. Despite Chapek’s previous assertions that Kennedy isn’t leaving, nothing has been announced regarding another contract extension or a new contract.

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kennedy ship
Credit: Disney Investors’ Day Livestream

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All of this aligns with Insider’s report that changes could be coming to the power structure at The Walt Disney Company this fall.

rey and finn
Credit: Lucasfilm

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Whether Kennedy steps down on her own due to the changes Chapek is reportedly making, or the company dramatically alters how her contractual agreement looks, it seems likely that changes of some kind are on the horizon for Lucasfilm and the Star Wars franchise moving forward.

At this time, Disney has not issued an official statement regarding changes to executive contracts.

What do you think the future of Lucasfilm looks like? Will current Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy remain part of it?

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