Variety has published an in-depth feature on Wednesday about the goings-on within the Walt Disney Company, and it painted a picture of an overgrown company that is internally scrambling to find its footing in this new era of media.
Most of that, as the report details with insight from Disney insiders, comes from the CEO transition of Bob Iger to Bob Chapek. The hiring of Chapek came at probably one of the worst times ever (not just in media, but in the entire world) as COVID-19 brought much of Disney’s operations to a full-on stop. Movie and television production stopped as many projects were soon delayed, and the Disney Parks experienced shutdowns word-wide — narrowing what Disney could rake in from its already large number of subdivisions.
And based on the report, it sounds like employees are having a hard time adjusting to Chapek’s new workflow as the top Disney exec. With new structuring and Disney being divided into three categories (studios, general entertainment and sports), it’s also brought some confusion that trickles down to its head of studios as well.
As we’ve reported around here previously, rumors began to spring up that Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige could be taking over Lucasfilm from Kathleen Kennedy. Of course, there’s been no solid evidence. But the mixed reviews to Star Wars’ sequel series have led some to believe this should lead to Kennedy’s removal, while the ongoing success of the MCU (paired with Feige’s commitment to producing a Star Wars movie soon) meant Feige could be a worthy successor to lead Lucasfilm.
It’s already been debunked by Feige himself that he has no plans on doing anything else outside of producing a Star Wars film for Lucasfilm. And even Bob Chapek has stated Kathleen Kennedy will not be replaced. But just for the record, the new report from Variety clarifies from its sources once again that Feige’s business will only be with Marvel, and that’s that. The article states:
"Of these [studio] heads, Feige is seen as the most essential executive, having proved his mettle with the massive success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and streaming shows like WandaVision. After it was announced in 2019 that Feige would produce a Star Wars movie, there were rumors that he might assume more control of Lucasfilm. However, insiders say that Feige is fully committed with his Marvel duties and has no ambition to lead Lucasfilm or take more of a role. Few details have emerged about the Star Wars film he wants to make, and no production timeline has been set."
So while there seems to be some shaking up internally as Disney braces itself for new times ahead, it looks like the studios themselves will be relatively unchanged for the time being. Both Marvel and Lucasfilm have proved that they can be flexible in this new era of streaming — especially when it comes to the sheer amount of spinoff TV series the studios are making. And with The Mandalorian and even animated series like The Bad Batch, Lucasfilm has proved that it’s still doing well despite any backlash about the sequels.
Of course, we’ll just have to give it time to continue to see how Lucasfilm fairs under Chapek’s lead as CEO. But all in all, the studio is certainly keeping its head above water for now.
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