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Star Wars Celebration Europe 2023: Kathleen Kennedy talks Rian Johnson, Kevin Feige, Taika Waititi ‘not shelved’ Star Wars projects

April 8th, 2023 by Marc Comments

It’s been a big weekend so far for Star Wars with new shows and movies announced but two projects were noticeable by their absence… those of Jojo Rabbit’s Taika Waititi and The Last Jedi’s Rian Johnson.

Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy has gone on record, talking about the projects that were once in the pipeline and are now not… and not just Waititi and Johnson’s.

Johnson’s divisive Last Jedi was perhaps the most controversial of all Star Wars projects, hated by many, loved by others, there was no middle ground on it and, at one stage, before the movie became a disappointment for Lucasfilm and fans alike, he was reportedly attached to do his own trilogy of movies set in a new corner of the Star Wars universe and, while there often is ‘oh, he’s very busy’ updates, there’s been nothing concrete in quite a while.

Can Kennedy give us more details? “Rian and I talk all the time,” she said.

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“He is unbelievably busy. So we’re not actively involved in anything at the moment because he’s doing another one of the ‘Glass Onion’ movies and then God knows what else. But he really wants to step back into the space. It’s a big commitment of time, so that’s really on him.”

So no, no she can’t. I seriously doubt we’ll ever see more Star Wars with Johnson’s name attached.

Ok, so what about Waititi’s movie (here)? he was the golden boy of cinema until the abomination that was Thor: Love and Thunder hit last year and all of a sudden there were worries about him being attached to Star Wars. Look, he’s great on his own projects – What We Do In the Shadows and Jojo Rabbit are superb – but on franchises? Not so much.

“Taika is still working away,” Kennedy said.

He’s writing the script himself. He doesn’t really want to bring others into that process and I don’t blame him. He has a very, very unique voice. So we want to protect that and that’s what he’s doing. But we’re going to make that one day.”

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Hmmmmmmm… that sounds like a no to me. But I might be wrong.

So what about another project that was looking good until Patty Jenkins’ decided she no-longer wanted to do it? “Rogue Squadron, that definitely is something that we still talk about,” Kennedy says, “Whether it’s a movie, or whether it ends up being in the series space, that’s definitely something.”

I’m not going to lie, Jankins’ Wonder Woman 1984 was utterly dire but a Rogue Squadron TV series could be a lot of fun.

However, Kennedy is quick to point out that nothing is ever really cancelled but rather comes down to priorities and time, saying “it really comes down to the development process”.

“As you know, it’s an ever-evolving thing and it’s pretty straightforward. We get scripts in, we’re working with really talented people. We spend the time talking about it. ‘Is it getting there? Is it ready?’ It’s not a mystery to how it works.”

“We’ve even got things that we’ve been developing for a long, long time that could see the light of day. We just don’t know exactly when.

Taika Waititi says his Star Wars movie is not confirmed yet…

“We’ve got a lot of people that are, you know, managing very busy schedules because they’re talented unfortunately. But, you know, that’s what we’re always juggling.”

So they could still see the light of day down the line: “Well, those things haven’t been shelved. They haven’t been shelved.

“Development is a complicated, long-term process. Some people, we’re dealing with scheduling. Because, obviously, really talented people are working. So, it’s often not a shelving. It’s more like, ‘Is it ready?’ That’s really what it comes down to.”

Ok but what about Marvel head Kevin Feige’s oft-touted Star Wars project? How close did that come to happening? “Kevin Feige’s project was something announced in the press, or I suppose, fandom. But, nothing ever got developed. We never discussed an idea. Everyone knows Kevin is a huge Star Wars fan. If he did come up with something, I would be all ears. But, that’s never really happened, so it’s not an abandoned project. It just never really happened.”

Wait, what? Feige’s movie was never even a thing? But wasn’t that the one that Multiverse of Marness’ Michael Waldron said he was writing (here)? Very odd, indeed.

What Star Wars projects are you sorry got canned and what ones do you hope do? Let me know, gang…

Source: Variety and comicbook

Marc is a self-confessed nerd. Ever since seeing Star Wars for the first time around 1979 he’s been an unapologetic fan of the Wars and still believes, with Clone Wars and now Underworld, we are yet to see the best Star Wars. He’s a dad of two who now doesn’t have the time (or money) to collect the amount of toys, comics, movies and books he once did, much to the relief of his long-suffering wife. In the real world he’s a graphic designer. He started Following the Nerd because he was tired of searching a million sites every day for all the best news that he loves and decided to create one place where you can go to get the whole lot. Secretly he longs to be sitting in the cockpit of his YT-1300 Corellian Transport ship with his co-pilot Chewie, roaming the universe, waiting for his next big adventure, but feels just at home watching cartoons with his kids….