In a press release sent out by Lucasfilm today, it was announced that George Lucas would be appointing Kathleen Kennedy as Co-Chair of Lucasfilm Ltd. After word spread yesterday of Lucas’ impending retirement, it comes as no surprise that he would be appointing someone to take over many of the responsibilities at Lucasfilm, such as overseeing production of it’s long running Cartoon Network series, Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
“I’ve spent my life building Lucasfilm and as I shift my focus into other directions I wanted to make sure it was in the hands of someone equipped to carry my vision into the future,” said George Lucas. “It was important that my successor not only be someone with great creative passion and proven leadership abilities, but also someone who loves movies. I care deeply about my employees—it is their creativity and hard work that has made this company what it is today. As the company grows and expands I wanted to be sure the employees of Lucasfilm have a strong captain for the ship. I also care deeply about our fans and it was important to have someone who would carry on the passion and care that I’ve given the films over the years. So for me Kathy was the obvious choice, she is a trusted friend and one of the most respected producers and executives in the industry.”
Kathleen Kennedy, a seven-time Academy Award winner, should be well known to Lucasfilm and movie fans in general as producer of several fan favorite franchises and films, such as Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park, The Bourne Legacy, and the upcoming Steven Spielberg project, Lincoln. Director Steven Spielberg had this to say regarding the decision from Lucas, “George’s prescience is once again proven by his choice of my long time producing partner, Kathy Kennedy to co-chair Lucasfilm. Kathy has been a member of both of our families going into a fourth decade so it does not feel like she is going to another galaxy far far away. She will get just as much support from me with Lucasfilm as George has given both of us all these years.”
“George is a true visionary,” said Kathleen Kennedy. “I’ve seen him build Lucasfilm from a small rebel unit in Northern California to an international fully integrated entertainment company. I’m excited to have the chance to work with such an extraordinary group of talented people. George and I have talked about the enormous opportunities that lie ahead for the company, and as George moves towards retirement I am honored that he trusts me with taking care of the beloved film franchises. I feel fortunate to have George working with me for the next year or two as I take on this role—it is nice to have Yoda by your side.”
What does this mean for ongoing projects at Lucasfilm such as Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and the much rumoured Star Wars Live-Action series? I think we can expect the same quality and consistency from Lucasfilm’s flagship projects, but hopefully this will mark a new era for licensing and the expanded universe in general, which in many fans opinions has become a little unruly in recent years. What kind of changes would you like to see from Lucasfilm, if any? Sound off in the comments below.