Marvel’s Kevin Feige tapped to produce new Star Wars film

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On Wednesday, Disney made the surprising announcement that Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) head Kevin Feige will produce a forthcoming “Star Wars” film.

The Hollywood Reporter notes Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and Walt Disney studios co-chairmen Alan Horn and Alan Bergman approached the acclaimed producer about the job earlier this summer. Horn told the publication Feige would develop a new installment of the iconic space opera in tandem with Kennedy. Moreover, Disney intends for Feige to revitalize the series following the release of December’s “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.”

“We are excited about the projects Kathy 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,” said Horn. “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,” said Horn.

The Hollywood Report did not clarify if Feige will produce any of the previously announced forthcoming “Star Wars” movies.

Why this is Good News for ‘Star Wars’ Fans

Although Feige isn’t a director, screenwriter, or actor, his joining the “Star Wars” franchise is good news for fans.

Since 2000, the executive has served as a producer on Marvel Studios films. While his early years featured a mix of good (“X2”) to atrocious (“Man-Thing”) movies, he hit his stride in 2007. That year, he became president of Marvel Studios and facilitated the production of “Iron Man.” Moreover, he helped lay down the foundations for what would become the MCU. Under Feige’s watch, the deeply interconnected franchise produced a slew of mostly critically acclaimed and financially successful features.

Though very different visually and narratively, the MCU movies have shared a thematic and tonal consistency that’s kept millions of filmgoers captivated. Marvel Studios has developed a versatile blockbuster formula that blends compelling action, impeccable tension-breaking humor, and emotional resonance. They are popcorn movies that satisfy like a full meal.

As a point of continuity in the franchise, Feige is responsible for that remarkable steadiness. His success is also attributable to his ability to establish and maintain clear content parameters for the movies he produces. It’s also due to his ability to match creators with projects that suit their talents. Moreover, he has successfully reined in those filmmakers from making would-be crowd-pleasers that end up alienating their target audience.

Though Horn has only tapped Feige to produce one “Star Wars” film, his comments to The Hollywood Reporter make it clear he has big expectations of the executive. If the MCU producer’s space opera refresh is a hit, the studio will want him to make a follow-up. Moreover, Disney might have Feige helm the “Star Wars” franchise while Kennedy shepherds other Lucasfilm properties.

‘Star Wars’ Needs a Refresh

Although the three of the four “Star Wars” films Disney has released since buying the property from George Lucas in 2012 have been successful, they’ve also had their problems.

“The Force Awakens” is a fun nostalgic romp, but it lacks innovation and unpredictability. “Rogue One” is visually stunning, but most of its characters are flat. And “The Last Jedi,” while ambitious and compelling, is tonally messy, overlong, and sluggishly paced.

Furthermore, “Solo,” which lost its writers and directors mid-way through production, is a bad movie. It is visually opaque, narratively inert, and thoroughly unnecessary.  Consequently, it became the first “Star Wars” movie to fail to turn a profit at the box office.

Besides, Disney reportedly canceled plans to make more “Star Wars” anthology films following “Solo’s” failure.

As “The Rise of Skywalker” is both a conclusion to the new “Star Wars” trilogy and a final goodbye to several beloved characters, it will likely be a hit. But after that, Disney is going to have to regain the public’s trust.

Soon, the studio will debut new “Star Wars” TV shows on its Disney+ streaming service. The corporation has also hired “Last Jedi” helmer Rian Johnson and “Game of Thrones” developers David Benioff and DB Weiss to create new “Star Wars” film series. Though incredibly talented, those three creators would benefit from being produced by someone with a history of consistency and temperance.

In addition, Johnson and Benioff and Weiss will make “Star Wars” unconnected to the Skywalker family and their associates. As Disney wants Kevin Feige to oversee a single new “Star Wars” movie, it would benefit the franchise if its new lead characters were introduced under his watch. The executive produced a film with that dynamic a decade ago, and it worked out pretty well.