How Lucasfilm's Kathleen Kennedy Is Going To Ensure The New 'Star Wars' Is Awesome

Kathleen Kennedy JJ Abrams

Photo: Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

Kathleen Kennedy, the co-chair of Lucasfilm, holds the future of the force in her hands.She’s been one the creative minds behind a lot of Hollywood hits since the late ’70s, working in particular with Steven Spielberg on his films from “1941” to Oscar-nominated “Lincoln.”

And, she’s already going to great lengths for “Star Wars,” bringing on Oscar-winning screenwriter Michael Arndt (“Toy Story 3”) and original franchise writer Lawrence Kasdan as a consult.

Now, Kennedy’s magically enlisted the talent of J.J. Abrams as director—a task that she went to great lengths to secure. 

In her first in-depth interview since acquiring the reigns of Lucasfilm, Kennedy opened up to The Hollywood Reporter not only on the measures she’s taken to revive Lucas’ coveted franchise, but also on her past works revealing that she has the gusto to take on The Force.

If you’ve been worried, or are still concerned about the future of “Star Wars,” it’s time to take a breather. Here’s why …

In November, Abrams told EW and various outlets he would be too busy with original projects to work on 'Star Wars.'

The 'Star Wars' executive producer spoke and met with J.J. Abrams anyway in December in hopes to change his mind.

'We spent a lot of time talking about how meaningful 'Star Wars' is and the depth of the mythology that George has created and how we carry that into the next chapter,' Kennedy said.

'I learned firsthand how incredible and persuasive she is,' said Abrams. 'The thing about any pre-existing franchise -- I'd sort of done that. But when I met with Kathy, it was suddenly very tantalising.'

Or, she's just very good with Jedi mind tricks because all Kennedy said she asked Abrams was to 'Please do 'Star Wars.''

She already has the respect of top directors.

'Social Network' director David Fincher recalled his working relationship with Kennedy:

'When you, as a director -- call Kathy and say 'I need this …' she can actually remember the meeting where you explained why something was LINCHPIN to an effect you were trying to create -- or helped support an idea that you felt was essential to the story you are telling, and SHE CAN ACT ON IT.

So when Kennedy said Abrams brought up his 'very genuine concerns' about other projects and the impact the role would take on his family she hinted the timeframe of the film's release may alter.

And is more concerned about getting a project perfect than rushing to put it together.

Abrams is going to be one of the busiest people in Hollywood in the next few years juggling multiple TV shows and movies in addition to 'Star Wars.' (More on that here.) And, Kennedy appears to get that.

'Our goal is to move as quickly as we can, and we'll see what happens,' says Kennedy. 'The timetable we care about is getting the story.'

As a result, we may not be seeing 'Star Wars' in 2015, but it will hopefully be worthwhile.

Tony Kushner who worked with Kennedy on 'Munich' and 'Lincoln' said she has no problem getting people focused on the task at hand.

'I got really upset on the set of Lincoln about something that was kind of minor, but I overreacted,' said Kushner. 'She said: 'Come on! Stop it!' She sort of barked at me. It was very effective.'

... or start a film over again if it's not up to par.

And she gets results ... quickly.

'Jurassic Park' screenwriter David Koepp spoke about Spielberg and Kennedy's working relationship:

'It's so efficient, it boggles the mind,' says Koepp 'They're able to accomplish in a day what mere filmmaking mortals do in a few -- and they don't seem to finish a lot of sentences.'

And, it's paid off.

Five films they've worked on together including 'E.T.,' 'War Horse,' and now 'Lincoln' have all been nominated for Oscar Best Picture Awards.

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