During the annual shareholders meeting this week, Disney CEO Bob Chapek was asked about continuing rumors that Lucasfilm chief Kathleen Kennedy would be replaced. According to Variety, Chapek swiftly shut down those rumors, noting the company has been “absolutely thrilled” with the work done by Kennedy at Lucasfilm.
"“We look forward to having Kathleen Kennedy running the Lucasfilm organization for many years to come,” Chapek said."
Chapek was specifically asked if Kennedy would be replaced with Dave Filoni or Jon Favreau — two leaders building out the Star Wars universe beyond the Skywalker family saga with The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett.
Unsubstantiated reports about Kennedy’s future at Lucasfilm have been swirling for years, according to Collider, but have ramped up in intensity following the highly-successful two seasons of The Mandalorian coupled with continued scrutiny by fans of The Last Jedi. The Star Wars fandom divided further after Solo: A Star Wars Story was released and then again after The Rise of Skywalker wrapped up the decades-long Skywalker saga.
Collider also noted the Kennedy replacement rumors hinting at Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige, but the outlet confirmed Feige is not involved in any other Star Wars films beyond the one he’s producing.
Kennedy has been the head of Lucasfilm since 2012 when Star Wars creator George Lucas handed over the reins and sold the organization to Disney. Since then, Kennedy has overseen the ever-expanding Star Wars universe with the trilogy of sequel films, several spinoff movies and television shows and even more films and TV shows yet to come.
The annual shareholders came during the same week that many are marking as one year since the COVID-19 pandemic kicked into high gear. But it also happened amid plateauing and dropped case numbers and vaccinations slowly becoming more available around the country.
Chapek’s hopeful statements also came days after the state of California announced that theme parks like Disneyland could reopen as soon as April 1. Disneyland, which has its own Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, has not yet shared an official reopening date for the resort but said it’s eyeing late April.