On Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy’s 64th birthday, we reflect on her film career and her contributions to the Star Wars universe.
In 2012 when George Lucas sold Lucasfilm and the Star Wars franchise to the Walt Disney Company, he installed film producer Kathleen Kennedy as the president of his former company. Today, on Kennedy’s 64th birthday, we take a look at her film career and her accomplishments both within and without the galaxy far, far away.
Kennedy’s film career is an empowering example of what one can accomplish through initiative and a passion for creativity. In 1982, Kennedy, along with director Steven Spielberg (Jaws, Jurassic Park) established Amblin Entertainment, which Spielberg uses for every one of his films. A decade later, Kennedy cofounded The Kennedy/Marshall Company with her husband and fellow director/producer Frank Marshall. The Kennedy/Marshall Company is responsible for producing many critical and box office successes, such as The Bourne Trilogy and Jurassic World.
Kathleen Kennedy (far right) with the cast and crew of
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
. Image credit: Vanity Fair (screenshot via photo library Elaine Tveit)
Kennedy worked with George Lucas before he asked her to take over Lucasfilm in 2012, having produced the blockbuster Indiana Jones trilogy which Lucas created with Spielberg. Kennedy produced several other pop culture smashes, as well, including E.T. The Extra Terrestrial and the Back to the Future trilogy. Her work is universally acknowledged as outstanding, as her eight Academy Award nominations demonstrate.
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Today, Kennedy is the leader of the biggest science fiction and pop culture franchise in the world. In her short five years as Lucasfilm’s president, she has expanded the Star Wars universe to tell more (and more diverse) stories. Under her direction, Lucasfilm is producing standalone Star Wars films outside the main saga of Episodes. Kennedy also established the Lucasfilm Story Group to ensure synchronicity between the many stories being written and produced for Star Wars canon.
Kennedy’s most compelling quality as a leader is her willingness to take risks. Instead of hanging back and making Star Wars movies the way they have always been made – as part of a single, overarching saga – she pushed for the creation of brand new stories. Ever open to new ideas, she gives up-and-coming directors like Gareth Edwards (Rogue One) the chance to show off their burgeoning creative talent. Kennedy is the perfect replacement for Lucas because just like him, she is fearless, smart and knows exactly what she’s doing.
Happy birthday, Kathleen Kennedy! We can’t wait to see where you take us next.
H/T: “Passing the Baton: Meet Kathleen Kennedy” on StarWars.com