Kathleen Kennedy, J.J. Abrams on Episode IX filming in Jordan

Although there have been numerous reports – and even social media posts from the likes of John Boyega (mostly via Instagram stories) and Oscar Isaac’s wife Elvira Lind – we finally have some comments from higher up the food chain. Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and director J.J. Abrams both talked to Roya News about Jordan’s Wadi Rum:

“Wadi Rum is breathtakingly beautiful and the perfect location for our film,” says Abrams. “I feel extremely fortunate to have been able to shoot in Jordan. Between the warm welcome from the government and the dedication and hard work of the local film professionals, we couldn’t have had a better experience. We are enormously grateful.”

Producer Kathleen Kennedy said “I also want to thank the Royal Film Commission Jordan, and the Army, whose tremendous support has been invaluable, and helped make this shoot possible.”

Other than Boyega and Isaac (and maybe Anthony Daniels,) the cast has been mainly mum on who exactly is out in Jordan. There are fuzzy photos that may indicate at least one other cast member joined them, but they’re hardly conclusive.

There’s plenty of speculation on what Jordan means for the story – understandably, a return to Jakku is a common theory – but it’s interesting that Daniels’ tweet implies it may be standing in for more than one. Curious.

The Boba Fett movie will rot in the belly of the sarlacc for a thousand years

The long-rumored Boba Fett spinoff film is so dead that Kathleen Kennedy is admitting it almost existed:

The tweet-scoop is backed up by Variety. Fett has been the subject of spin-off rumors since we knew there were spinoffs, but the most recent rumors had Logan’s James Mangold writing and directing. (Before that, Fett was reportedly the subject of Josh Trank’s standalone.)

I myself am notoriously indifferent* to the character, but I doubt this means we’ve seen the end of him – the Fetts did get namechecked in our very first official dispatch re: The Mandalorian, after all. And even if Boba doesn’t get freed from his sand-ridden digestive grave in the new canon, the fact that we actually have a show called The Mandalorian coming is a pretty definitive testament to the character’s influence and legacy.

* Okay, I’ve been pretty much sick of the dude since, oh, 1996.

Kathleen Kennedy renews contract, will lead Lucasfilm through at least 2021

Kathleen Kennedy has signed on to remain president of Lucasfilm for another three years, per The Hollywood Reporter. Kennedy, who was hand-picked by George Lucas to lead his namesake company before the sale to Disney, has overseen Lucasfilm since 2012. The four Star Wars films released under her tenure – The Force Awakens, Rogue One, The Last Jedi and Solo – have grossed nearly $4.5 billion worldwide.

While J.J. Abrams’ Episode IX is the only film currently in production, the article reiterates that projects from The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson and Game of Thrones’ David Benioff and D.B. Weiss are still in development. A fifth Indiana Jones film is also moving forward.

Kathleen Kennedy to get an honorary Oscar

Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy will receive an honorary Oscar at the Motion Picture Academy’s 10th annual Governors Awards. Kennedy and her husband and producing partner, Frank Marshall, are being honored with Thalberg Award, given to producers “whose body of work reflect a consistently high quality of motion picture production.” Kennedy will be the first woman to receive the award, which was last given to Francis Ford Coppola in 2010.

Kennedy has been nominated for 8 Oscars, due to Best Picture nominations for E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, The Color Purple, The Sixth Sense, Seabiscuit, Munich, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, War Horse, and Lincoln.

Kennedy joined Lucasfilm in 2012 as George Lucas’ hand-picked successor.

Adventures in mistranslation: No one has confirmed a young Lando film

The Star Wars newsosphere was rocked this morning when Premiere France published a story where Kathleen Kennedy seemingly said that a Lando Calrissian spinoff was in the works. It all turned out to be a translation error though, and the story has since been corrected. While Kennedy isn’t ruling such a film out – and with all the love for Solo’s Donald Glover out there she’d be crazy to – but she definitely isn’t saying it’s next up after Episode IX.

In the meantime, there’s still that Obi-wan rumor to chew on. If that does end up happening for 2020, expect Lando to be the next perennial rumor.

How Harrison Ford pitched in on Solo

Harrison Ford may have finished up his run as Han Solo, but he did have some input on Solo, in the form of insight on the character.

“What [Ford] did so beautifully for Alden was he talked a lot about what he remembered when he first read Star Wars, and what George had done with Han. Who the character was and the conversations he had for so many years with George about how that character developed,” [Kathleen] Kennedy says. “He gave Alden that kind of insight which was invaluable. There were several times in the course of making the movie where Alden would actually recount some of the things that Harrison had pointed out. I think that was really, really helpful to him.”

We also get confirmation that Solo is keeping Han’s backstory as an orphan, and how that played into his bond with Rey in The Force Awakens.

Lucasfilm calls up… The Game of Thrones guys?

No, not George R.R. Martin. (He has enough on his plate.)

Today’s big out of left field Star Wars announcement is that Game of Thrones’ David Benioff and D.B. Weiss will “will write and produce” a new series of Star Wars films. The new films won’t be saga films, and they’re also separate from Rian Johnson’s trilogy.

“David and Dan are some of the best storytellers working today,” said Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucasfilm. “Their command of complex characters, depth of story and richness of mythology will break new ground and boldly push Star Wars in ways I find incredibly exciting.”

I am… More skeptical than usual about this one. I do enjoy Game of Thrones, but there’s plenty that Benioff and Weiss have done with the series that I’m less than gung-ho on. This feels like a very Trevorrowesque decision (more “edgy” white dudes?), and we all know how that turned out… Well, at least there (probably) won’t be any sexposition scenes, but more troubling is that these are dudes who seem to think that Confederate is a good idea.

In a Disney earnings call, CEO Bob Iger says the pair are “focused on a point in time in the Star Wars mythology and taking it from there.”

This does, however, seem to give us a more complete picture of Lucasfilm’s post-Episode IX plans. While I have no doubt we have not see the end of the saga films, a standalone “trilogy” and “series” seems like a good start to fill in a nice big gap… Like perhaps a decade or so?