The Hollywood Reporter recently revealed that Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy has extender her contract to run the company and the future of Star Wars for an additional 3 years. This puts her in charge of our favorite galaxy until 2021 and possibly beyond, despite of the feeling of many fans.
Is this the right call for the future of the franchise? Right away, I personally feel that it is. Kathleen is the spark that lit the fire for many fans to rediscover their love of Star Wars, but most importantly she's able to attain new viewers and fans. Many fans believe that other than ticket sales, proving the popularity of a franchise is difficult. Currently younger audiences move away from merchandise and toys at an earlier and earlier age, but if you look around, the signs are there.
Trinkets or keychains on backpacks, disposable coloring books, and looking up specific scenes over and over again on YouTube or other media platforms is more than enough to keep a child thinking about a franchise, but we need to stay on target.
So what does 2021 mean for the fandom? You may think it's just Episode 9 and another Story type film, but Lucasfilm (like many other companies) try and map out their game plans far in advance. Kennedy will have producing credits in the upcoming Star Wars Resistance cartoon and in 2021 it might be in its 3rd or 4th season. Star Wars: The Clone Wars season 7 will have Kathleen to thank for bringing the show back to finish the fight. Rian Johnson still has his saga (no longer being classified as a trilogy) in the works as well as the saga coming from David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, the TV adaptors for Game of Thrones.
Recently, Disney CEO Bob Iger took full responsibility for pushing Solo: A Star Wars Story to premier only 5 months after Episode 8. This was possibly to gauge interest in multiple films a year similar to the way Marvel did it early on with Iron-Man 1 and The Incredible Hulk (both premiering in 2008). His taking the hit for Kennedy now gives her a continual success rate with moving stories forward going into episode 9!
So what happens if some fans get their wish and Kathleen Kennedy steps down as President today? Who comes in and takes her mantle? Name someone who you want at the helm of Lucasfilm. Is it some random “Suit” that isn't a fan of any franchise like at Sony? Is it a board of directors pushing sequel material and multiple characters into one film like at Warner Brothers? Is it maybe an entire company forcing directors to include vehicles, weapons and items that can be marketed and sold in stores like at Hasbro?
The only person that comes to mind that is both well-known and could possibly do the job is currently working under Kennedy; he’s writing for the films, games, fan experiences and much more: Jon Kasdan, the co-writer of Solo: a Star Wars Story and son of Lawrence Kasdan the film writer for Empire Strikes Back. Jon has the potential and the pedigree to someday run Lucasfilm. This is all speculation on my part, but from watching premier events and press junkets, Jon is there close to Kathleen and it is possible that she is grooming him for the position.
This kind of speculative thinking can't happen if the people in charge fall to the whims of the fandom. There is always a system to take feedback or course-correct and I believe Lucasfilm knows how to do it, but how they move forward after the outcome of Episode 9 is entirely up to the movie attendance and the final confrontation between Rey and Kylo.