Kathleen Kennedy's management of the franchise

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Re: Kathleen Kennedy's management of the franchise

Post by ray245 » 2020-01-17 06:46am

Mange wrote:
2020-01-16 11:15pm
ray245 wrote:
2020-01-16 03:39pm
Gandalf wrote:
2020-01-16 02:56pm
So they'll throw out some OT era crap like Rogue One. Problem solved.
Except Solo proved having OT era stuff isn't enough to attract audience.
My thought at the time was "Why would I want to watch anyone else than Ford playing Han Solo?" After I watched the generic heist movie, the answer was "I wouldn't".
The fact that Kennedy couldn't understand there was no appeal for such a project, when it's so apparent when you look up at what the fanbase are interested in goes to show how bad of a judgement she made in the production of Star Wars. I think her success in managing Star Wars was more of a matter of luck than good management.

Any main trilogy movie will make money no matter what. So I will not necessarily say she was entirely responsible for the success of Ep 7-9. And even then, Ep 9 declining box office shows she made a big misjudgement in crafting a new era of Star Wars that can stand on their own.
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Re: Kathleen Kennedy's management of the franchise

Post by Esquire » 2020-01-17 10:02pm

ray245 wrote:
2020-01-16 03:39pm
Gandalf wrote:
2020-01-16 02:56pm
So they'll throw out some OT era crap like Rogue One. Problem solved.
Except Solo proved having OT era stuff isn't enough to attract audience.
Solo was released at [rounds to] the same time as an extremely divisive main-line SW film, and was barely marketed to boot. One assumes if the Internet has noticed, so have Disney's forecasting department - there's plenty of space for profitable one-offs.
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Re: Kathleen Kennedy's management of the franchise

Post by bilateralrope » 2020-01-17 10:10pm

Darth Yan wrote:
2020-01-17 12:13am
I actually rather liked Solo. And link for the above?

I'm cautiously optimistic if the Old republic era stuff is true. That's an untapped era.
They have a whole galaxy to play with, if only they were willing to move away from 'fate of the galaxy' or character backstory movies. Sure, they might have to move to TV series so they have more running time for worldbuilding, but I'm fine with that.

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Re: Kathleen Kennedy's management of the franchise

Post by Galvatron » 2020-01-18 01:20am

IMO, 400 BBY isn't far enough removed from the saga since there shouldn't be any Sith involvement and the Republic would already be demilitarized. That's assuming they don't retcon the shit out of the lore, of course.

Gimme 1,000 BBY or earlier, please.

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Re: Kathleen Kennedy's management of the franchise

Post by Vendetta » 2020-01-18 05:01am

Esquire wrote:
2020-01-17 10:02pm
ray245 wrote:
2020-01-16 03:39pm
Gandalf wrote:
2020-01-16 02:56pm
So they'll throw out some OT era crap like Rogue One. Problem solved.
Except Solo proved having OT era stuff isn't enough to attract audience.
Solo was released at [rounds to] the same time as an extremely divisive main-line SW film, and was barely marketed to boot. One assumes if the Internet has noticed, so have Disney's forecasting department - there's plenty of space for profitable one-offs.
It was also a significantly troubled production that went through directors like mexican food through unwary tourists and got sent out to die next to Avengers Endgame.
ray245 wrote:
2020-01-17 06:46am
The fact that Kennedy couldn't understand there was no appeal for such a project, when it's so apparent when you look up at what the fanbase are interested in goes to show how bad of a judgement she made in the production of Star Wars. I think her success in managing Star Wars was more of a matter of luck than good management.
I think the problem is the opposite. If you look at what the fanbase says it wants you'd do exactly what Disney have done. You'd continue the saga to the "original plan" of nine episodes and noodle around with backstories for the OT, whilst trying to stay as far away from the prequels as possible.

The problem is that planning according to "what fans want" is like planning your tea by asking your five year old what they want, the answer is always ice cream and that's ultimately not satisfying even if it's fun just the once.

An attempt to leverage the "original 9 episode plan" was doomed because the story was conclusively finished in episode 6, and character prequels are always constrained by the need to line up to the beginning of that character's arc. (In fact, there should be a special room in Hollywood, and in that room is a man who you have to go and ask for permission to make any prequel to anything. The man has a brick on his desk, and his only actual contribution is to throw the brick at the head of anyone who walks in the door. So your idea for a prequel has to be so compelling that you are willing to take a brick to the face to see it).

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Re: Kathleen Kennedy's management of the franchise

Post by ray245 » 2020-01-18 05:57am

Vendetta wrote:
2020-01-18 05:01am
I think the problem is the opposite. If you look at what the fanbase says it wants you'd do exactly what Disney have done. You'd continue the saga to the "original plan" of nine episodes and noodle around with backstories for the OT, whilst trying to stay as far away from the prequels as possible.

The problem is that planning according to "what fans want" is like planning your tea by asking your five year old what they want, the answer is always ice cream and that's ultimately not satisfying even if it's fun just the once.

An attempt to leverage the "original 9 episode plan" was doomed because the story was conclusively finished in episode 6, and character prequels are always constrained by the need to line up to the beginning of that character's arc. (In fact, there should be a special room in Hollywood, and in that room is a man who you have to go and ask for permission to make any prequel to anything. The man has a brick on his desk, and his only actual contribution is to throw the brick at the head of anyone who walks in the door. So your idea for a prequel has to be so compelling that you are willing to take a brick to the face to see it).
That is exactly why I dislike her management. One of the most important thing as a creatively minded person is not let the fans dictate what kind of story you are telling. Sure, you can listen to the fans and understand what they want, but that is different from letting them dictate everything. You need to have an actual creative backbone instead and be better than your average fan on the street.

The sequel era could work, if they managed to create a Sequel era into its own thing, and not merely a copy of the OT. The problem is Disney and Kennedy were effectively listening to the likes of RLM people, who are complete idiots when it comes to analysing and understanding why the OT worked. There was no deep thinking on the direction of the Star Wars franchise.

Story-telling is not a democracy. If you listen to every feedback on what kind of story you should tell, and give in to them, you will end up with a mess of a story that no one is happy with.
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Re: Kathleen Kennedy's management of the franchise

Post by Mange » 2020-01-18 01:58pm

mr friendly guy wrote:
2020-01-16 10:17am
Well ROS made $1 billion, so its definitely a decent outing. I wouldn't say its brilliant given the high costs it takes to make a Star Wars movie.
No, also Rogue One had made more money at this point and at a lower budget.

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Re: Kathleen Kennedy's management of the franchise

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2020-01-26 09:31pm

You really have to measure "success" for a Star Wars film on a different scale. For most films, hitting a billion is pretty damn good. For a Star Wars film, its ho-hum.

The conclusion to the Skywalker Saga NOT hitting a billion would have been a stunning failure that probably would have caused heads to roll at Disney.
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Re: Kathleen Kennedy's management of the franchise

Post by ray245 » 2020-01-27 04:11am

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2020-01-26 09:31pm
You really have to measure "success" for a Star Wars film on a different scale. For most films, hitting a billion is pretty damn good. For a Star Wars film, its ho-hum.

The conclusion to the Skywalker Saga NOT hitting a billion would have been a stunning failure that probably would have caused heads to roll at Disney.
Because it's about relative performance with its competitors. If most other big blockbusters having no issue crossing a billion, then you are right to expect SW to cross a billion
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Re: Kathleen Kennedy's management of the franchise

Post by chimericoncogene » 2020-03-14 11:18am

I think they shouldn't have messed around with the setting, and focused on disciplined storytelling.

They should have reused assets voraciously - ISDs, stormtrooper armor, etc - none of that needed any major changing, and stuck to the world as built. You don't need that much worldbuilding when you have FORTY YEARS of EU material to draw inspiration from, just like Marvel drew its storylines and elements from its comics. Just copy and paste that stuff, and do a little creative renaming if copyright is an issue. If you want to throw fans bones, just grab hardware from the EU. They'll love it. If you need to sell toys... well, the EU has plenty of toys to sell. Were there serious copyright hassles?

Also, they shouldn't have thrown the Prequels out the window. Would it have killed them to put Coruscant in there somewhere - at least a few scenes to show the New Republic actually existing instead of just exiting in a few lines of dialog? Or to get blown up? Reuse assets from 2001 if you must save money! You could blow up Naboo if you hate the Prequels!

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Re: Kathleen Kennedy's management of the franchise

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2020-03-16 12:22am

chimericoncogene wrote:
2020-03-14 11:18am
I think they shouldn't have messed around with the setting, and focused on disciplined storytelling.

They should have reused assets voraciously - ISDs, stormtrooper armor, etc - none of that needed any major changing, and stuck to the world as built. You don't need that much worldbuilding when you have FORTY YEARS of EU material to draw inspiration from, just like Marvel drew its storylines and elements from its comics. Just copy and paste that stuff, and do a little creative renaming if copyright is an issue. If you want to throw fans bones, just grab hardware from the EU. They'll love it. If you need to sell toys... well, the EU has plenty of toys to sell. Were there serious copyright hassles?
I don't think it would be the best idea to just reuse everything. Even the OT purist fans would wine about it being repetitive (because they're largely unpleasable/don't know what they really want). Sure, throwing in some familiar stuff for the fans is good- and the films did that. Could they have done it a bit more? Maybe. I'd certainly prefer cosmetic pandering to the older fans over pandering to them by derivative and exclusionary storytelling.
Also, they shouldn't have thrown the Prequels out the window. Would it have killed them to put Coruscant in there somewhere - at least a few scenes to show the New Republic actually existing instead of just exiting in a few lines of dialog? Or to get blown up? Reuse assets from 2001 if you must save money! You could blow up Naboo if you hate the Prequels!
There are a few very low-key prequel references in the ST (Ahsoka's voice is briefly heard in RoS, for example), but its muted, yeah. I agree completely that they should have used Coruscant. In fact, if they wanted to do something ballsy (even though it would inevitably have been compared to the destruction of Vulcan in the Abrams Trek films), they could have had it be Coruscant that got blown up in TFA. I mean, the planet Hosnia was basically Coruscant in all but name, and imagine how much more impact that scene would have had if it had been Coruscant being destroyed? For that matter, a couple more scenes showing the political wrangling going on in the NR would have both deepened the world building if done well, and given the destruction of Hosnia more weight. The fact that such material was actually shot and then cut pisses me off.

The real problem, though, is that its pretty clear they had no clear idea of what they wanted to do with these films, no real vision, other than "Make new Star Wars films, get lots of money". Or, if they did, they quickly abandoned it in the face of any push back.

Say what you will about the Prequels, they had a clear story to tell, a clear end-point. The characters and their goals, likewise, were largely defined. In this sense, the fact that they were Prequels, and the ending was largely pre-determined, was probably an asset (its telling that probably the least-consistently developed major character in the Prequels is Padme- the one who originated in the PT). And while the OT underwent a major change of direction with the "I am your father" revelation, and then the last-minute decision to make Luke and Leia siblings, it was largely done skillfully enough that it comes off as a clever and original subversion of the Oedipus story rather than fumbling incompetency.

What the ST needed, in short, was a vision- and the will to stick by it. Even "let's just remake the OT with different names and faces", while cowardly and uninspired, would have probably been better than the mess that we got. A change of direction in TLJ could have worked, as it did for the OT- but only if it was clearly defined and Lucasfilms/Disney stood by it and followed through on it. No amount of talent in acting, directing, effects, music, set design, props, etc- and the ST had talent to spare, make no mistake of that- will compensate if you don't have a story to tell. And it is fucking tragic that this is the final note of the original Skywalker saga, and of the career of a legend like Carrie Fisher.
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Re: Kathleen Kennedy's management of the franchise

Post by ray245 » 2020-03-16 05:42am

Lucas gave them a clear story to tell. They just threw it out.
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Re: Kathleen Kennedy's management of the franchise

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2020-03-16 05:50am

ray245 wrote:
2020-03-16 05:42am
Lucas gave them a clear story to tell. They just threw it out.
I don't think they had any obligation to follow what Lucas wanted- Lucas sold the company, and with it, the right to dictate the course of the franchise.

The problem is not "they didn't follow Lucas's vision". Its that they had none of their own.
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Re: Kathleen Kennedy's management of the franchise

Post by ray245 » 2020-03-16 05:54am

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2020-03-16 05:50am
ray245 wrote:
2020-03-16 05:42am
Lucas gave them a clear story to tell. They just threw it out.
I don't think they had any obligation to follow what Lucas wanted- Lucas sold the company, and with it, the right to dictate the course of the franchise.

The problem is not "they didn't follow Lucas's vision". Its that they had none of their own.
I'm saying if they themselves can't find a vision of their own, it's better to just go along with Lucas' vision than nothing at all.

Fans will whine about Lucas' story ruining their childhood again, but Lucas can actually give the younger generation a new story to grow up with.
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Re: Kathleen Kennedy's management of the franchise

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2020-03-16 06:21am

Well, I'll agree that almost any coherent story would have been better than the chaotic mess we got.
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Re: Kathleen Kennedy's management of the franchise

Post by Vendetta » 2020-03-16 09:31am

ray245 wrote:
2020-03-16 05:42am
Lucas gave them a clear story to tell. They just threw it out.
Did he though?

Lucas had a bunch of half formed ideas about what might have come next which, frankly, were rancid with midichlorians.

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Re: Kathleen Kennedy's management of the franchise

Post by ray245 » 2020-03-16 09:49am

Vendetta wrote:
2020-03-16 09:31am
Did he though?

Lucas had a bunch of half formed ideas about what might have come next which, frankly, were rancid with midichlorians.
A bunch of half-baked ideas is still better than no idea at all. It gives people a sense of direction as to what you want the story to be about, even if you don't like it.

Without it, all you have is a series of well-produced Star Wars fanfilm clips that have no coherence whatsoever.
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Re: Kathleen Kennedy's management of the franchise

Post by chimericoncogene » 2020-03-16 12:19pm

ray245 wrote:
2020-03-16 09:49am
Vendetta wrote:
2020-03-16 09:31am
Did he though?

Lucas had a bunch of half formed ideas about what might have come next which, frankly, were rancid with midichlorians.
A bunch of half-baked ideas is still better than no idea at all. It gives people a sense of direction as to what you want the story to be about, even if you don't like it.

Without it, all you have is a series of well-produced Star Wars fanfilm clips that have no coherence whatsoever.
I completely agree. I liked midichlorians, and did not find them particularly offensive. But even if you did not like them, or did not like the movies, George Lucas tried his best to build his world and his story, and keep it flowing into the OT.

What I cared about was consistent and coherent worldbuilding (Star Wars, is after all only Star Wars if it's set in the Star Wars Galaxy!), and by throwing out George Lucas and apparently not getting anyone who knew the EU/Prequel canon well on the writing team (or using the EU - not necessarily the stories, but just the hardware and names, which thanks to fanbase mechanics "feels" right even if it's objectively crap), they failed to achieve it.

Even if Solo was bad, it felt in-universe. Correlia was too small and under-industrialized, but I could buy it. I would have been fine with a feel-good Rom-Com set on Coruscant between a Twilek Jedi and a couple of hapless street-rats if they had wanted to make that a Star Wars movie. It just has to have Coruscant's details done right. The walls have to be duracrete, the turbolifts have to go whoosh, the repulsorlifts have to fly, and the underworld has to be the underworld. Everything shouldn't look too polished or perfect.

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Re: Kathleen Kennedy's management of the franchise

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2020-03-16 02:39pm

I can sincerely say that I'd watch the hell out of a Coruscant Rom-Com. :D

As far as the visual style... I think it depends on the setting. Sleek and polished works for an Imperial military facility, or Naboo, or what have you. It doesn't work for an Outer Rim dirt ball. The galaxy's a big place, and there's room for a lot of different looks. What I do think is missing in a lot of the ST is a sense of scale. And I don't mean just in the sense of "the Resistance is down to one ship". I mean the galaxy felt small. Stuff like the Starkiller Base weapon being visible from whatever system Han and Rey and Finn are in, even if they have an explanation for it. But its more than that. Its hard to put my finger on it, but something about the way a lot of it is shot just didn't evoke a sense of scale or grandeur for me. Hosnia blowing up, a whole system being destroyed, felt... small. Or at least that's how I remember it. There were the odd moments that captured that sense of scale, like those opening shots of Rey exploring and flying past the giant wrecks of old Imperial ships in the desert. Those remain visually some of my favorite moments in the trilogy. But not enough.

Of the Disney films, Rogue One did it best, I think. The shots of the planets from space felt big. The destruction wrought by the Death Star felt big.

But again, for me, the key underlying flaw was not one of visual style, but a lack of a coherent story. They had no idea where they wanted to go with this, or if they did, they didn't have the guts to follow through. Personally... before the films came out, I would have liked to see a story that followed on from what I would expect to happen after RotJ. A new Jedi Order, Han and Leia's children. A divided galaxy, not a big WWII in space style conflict, but something more akin to the War on Terror- a fragmented galaxy with the New Republic and Jedi struggling to cope with a lot of small-scale conflicts (maybe funded by some sinister power in the background).

Now... I'd have liked to see Rey's story, but have it be about Rey being "Nobody", seeking meaning in attaching herself to various other mentors (Han, Kylo, Luke), being disappointed by them, and ultimately having to create her own identity and family- have that be the focus, not just some lame "I'm calling myself Skywalker now for fanservice" tacked on at the end. That's a story that I think would have been meaningful.

I think Star Wars works best when it takes a classic, simple story of good vs evil on an epic scale, and then gives it a twist, while still retaining its underlying idealism. The OT did this best, by having the villain revealed as the hero's father, calling into question the hero's assumptions and ultimately shifting his goal, and the focus of the story, from "kill the bad guy" to "redeem the bad guy" (and also creating a fairly clever subversion of the Oedipus myth). The Prequels took the good vs evil story and gave it a cynical modern twist- the whole war is a charade, because the bad guy is already controlling both sides. And told a story about democracy's fall. It by necessity was more cynical and pessimistic than the OT, in some ways part of the "both sides" narrative about modern politics that I have so grown to loath- but it still ended on a note of hope. Obi-wan and Yoda take the twins into hiding, and we know how that story ends. Both trilogies also spoke to the concerns of the era in which they were filmed, in different ways: the OT has been cited as offering idealism or escapism to a post-Vietnam/Watergate America, while the Prequels echoed the growing political cynicism of the 90s/00s.

I think TLJ and Rogue One are the films that, in the new era, came closest to doing that. Rogue One was a darker take on the good vs evil story, with the heroes mostly dying in the end- but it did not wallow in cynicism or defeatism either, allowing their sacrifice to ultimately be meaningful. All their efforts coming down to a few nameless red shirts in a hallway, facing off against a literal monster they couldn't hope to beat, but managing to prevail at the cost of their own lives, was a brilliant decision, and in my opinion one of the most powerful moments in the saga.

TLJ tried to tell a story which put twists on the classic narratives (Rey is Nobody, the rogue hotshot pilot challenging authority isn't right, the sympathetic villain will not be redeemed by the heroine's love, the arch villain dies in the second act), and also to speak to the current disillusionment and cynicism, by showing a flawed Luke, a cynic like DJ who thinks both sides are just as bad- and ultimately attempting to refute them, to show that even if the old institutions have failed, their underlying ideals haven't. But it was less focussed than the OT's twist, and because it was part of an incoherent trilogy, its ideas were not fully followed up on, and indeed undercut by the final film.

So I respect TLJ and Rogue One the most as films, and as Star Wars films, in terms of their own merits. But none of the films work terribly well as part of a cohesive series, because there is no cohesive series. There is no clear overall theme or direction to the narrative.

This is an unfortunately common feature of Hollywood genre films today- less a coherent story than a series of "cool moments", written by committee, and awkwardly stitched together.
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"The greatest enemy of a good plan is the dream of a perfect plan."-General Von Clauswitz, describing my opinion of Bernie or Busters and third partiers in a nutshell.

I SUPPORT A NATIONAL GENERAL STRIKE TO REMOVE TRUMP FROM OFFICE.

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