Marvel Studios president and mega-producer Kevin Feige is heading to a galaxy far, far away. While Sony Pictures cited Feige’s busy schedule as a reason talks between Disney and Sony broke down to continue their Spider-Man partnership, the architect of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is adding another massive project to his docket: he’s making a Star Wars movie.
The news comes via THR, which reports that Feige is currently developing a new Star Wars movie and has already told “a major actor” that there’s a specific part in mind for them to play. Walt Disney Studios chairman and chief creative officer Alan Horn confirmed the report with the following statement:
“We are excited about the projects Kathy [Kennedy] and the Lucasfilm team are working on, not only in terms of Star Wars but also Indiana Jones and reaching into other parts of the company including Children of Blood and Bone with Emma Watts and Fox. With the close of the Skywalker Saga, Kathy is pursuing a new era in Star Wars storytelling, and knowing what a die-hard fan Kevin is, it made sense for these two extraordinary producers to work on a Star Wars film together.”
Unsaid but permeating the background of the entire THR story is the long-running rumor that Feige may or may not be in line to take over Lucasfilm from Kathleen Kennedy. The rumors first surfaced last year, in the wake of The Last Jedi “backlash” (it’s a genuinely good movie, folks!) and production troubles on Rogue One and Solo, two films that saw their directors replaced in the midst of filming. And in the case of Solo, the film was a box office bust, becoming the first Star Wars movie in history to lose money—although I’d lay blame at the feet of the film’s release date as well, as it came out merely months after The Last Jedi hit theaters.
THR notes that Kennedy remains in charge at Lucasfilm with no plans for that to change, although her current contract with Disney is up for renewal in 2021.
Feige, in contrast, built the Marvel Cinematic Universe from the ground up with 2008’s Iron Man, and while Marvel Studios has had its fair share of bad movies (see: Iron Man 2 and Thor: The Dark World) and production problems (see: Ant-Man and Avengers: Age of Ultron), Feige and his cracker-jack team have weathered the storms to become the most consistently successful franchise-creator in town. You can pretty much bank on every single Marvel movie to be a box office success and receive at least fairly positive reviews, as Marvel Studios has gotten the creation and release of its movies down to a science while innovating in exciting ways with films like Black Panther and Thor: Ragnarok.
It’s well-known that Feige is a massive Star Wars fan, and with the release of Avengers: Endgame, he closed the book on a huge chapter of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While plans for future Marvel films and phases are already underway, with Marvel shows on Disney+ serving as a key anchor for the post-Endgame MCU, it makes sense that Feige would see now as the time to start to branch out a bit. Avengers: Endgame is a significant stopping point in more ways than one, so perhaps Feige is keen on expanding his horizons outside the walls of Marvel.
That doesn’t necessarily mean taking Kathleen Kennedy’s job, mind you, and again sources tell THR there are no plans for Kennedy to exit anytime soon. Lucasfilm is in the midst of charting its own course forward as this December’s Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will mark the conclusion of the Skywalker Saga, with J.J. Abrams back at the helm. Disney has already confirmed that Star Wars will be hitting pause for a couple years after Rise of Skywalker to give fans time to breathe—the next new movie won’t arrive until December 2022, to be exact. And as stated by Horn, Kennedy is also busy readying Indiana Jones 5 which has Steven Spielberg and Harrison Ford returning.
Currently in development at Lucasfilm are a new trilogy of Star Wars movies from Rian Johnson, a new franchise from Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, and a Knights of the Old Republic movie—but all of these films are merely in development, and Lucasfilm’s plans right now are very much in flux. Which is why it’s the perfect time for Feige to add his idea for a Star Wars movie to the mix.
So yeah, it’s an interesting time to be a Star Wars fan and a Marvel fan. Disney+ will be a key storytelling avenue for both franchises going forward, and Feige is also working out how to bring the X-Men and other Fox properties into the MCU. But the news that Feige is now also working on a Star Wars movie is mighty curious. Is this merely a fun side project, or a sign of a larger role to come? We’ll find out sooner or later.
For more on the future of Marvel and Star Wars, peruse the links below:
- Star Wars Timeline Explained: A Comprehensive Deep-Dive
- Upcoming Marvel Movies: Here’s What’s Next
- Here’s Everything Coming to Disney+