The future of the Star Wars franchise is both exciting and uncertain at the moment. There are many new projects in the works, but with Star Wars: Episode IX set to end the Skywalker Saga and with a slowdown expected after Solo: A Star Wars Story's disappointing box office performance, there are a lot of questions about the next steps for the popular franchise. Whatever those next steps are, they will still be presided over by Kathleen Kennedy, as the Lucasfilm president has renewed her contract.

The contract renewal is for three years and will keep Kathleen Kennedy as head honcho at Lucasfilm through 2021, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Kathleen Kennedy has shepherded Lucasfilm in the Disney era and been the architect of the new Star Wars franchise. Under her, the new Star Wars films films have grossed almost $4.5 billion dollars at the box office, easily covering the $4 billion Disney paid for Lucasfilm, and that's before all of the other money the franchise has brought in. This contract renewal is seen as a vote of confidence in Kathleen Kennedy and acknowledgement of the amount of success that the relaunched Star Wars has had under her leadership.

This move comes after a tumultuous year for Star Wars, where the once bulletproof franchise has faltered and Kathleen Kennedy herself has come under major scrutiny for perceived missteps. Kathleen Kennedy has been very hands on, unafraid to remove directors or reduce their roles in productions at even the latest stages, including Gareth Edwards on Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Chris Lord and Phil Miller on Solo and Colin Trevorrow on Star Wars: Episode IX. The drama hasn't stayed behind the scenes though, with Star Wars: The Last Jedi receiving an extremely divided reaction from the fanbase, even though it still made over $1 billion. Kathleen Kennedy's Lucasfilm did suffer a financial disappointment with Solo, which failed to make even half of what any of the new era Star Wars films have made.

Clearly these factors did not outweigh the success Kathleen Kennedy has had, and Disney is looking for her to continue that success for another three years. Solo's performance was, at least partially, attributable to its proximity to The Last Jedi. We now know that that was Bob Iger's decision, not Kathleen Kennedy's, and it sounds like that lesson was learned and we will be experiencing a Star Wars slowdown in the future.

The only Star Wars film officially on the schedule at the moment is J.J. Abrams' Star Wars: Episode IX, which releases in 2019. Beyond that, there are various other projects in development, from Rian Johnson's new trilogy to D.B. Weiss and David Benioff's new series of films. Kathleen Kennedy's contract renewal means that she will overseeing all of these at least through 2021. That's not all though, as we know Jon Favreau is working on a live-action Star Wars series, and according to THR, television will be the focus for Star Wars in the near future as a way to expand the Star Wars universe. Beyond the adventures set in a galaxy far, far away, Kathleen Kennedy's contract renewal at Lucasfilm means that she will also be overseeing Indiana Jones 5, which is scheduled for release in 2021.

Star Wars: Episode IX releases in theaters on December 20, 2019. Check out all of next year's biggest movies in our guide and stay tuned to CinemaBlend for the latest news from a galaxy far, far away.

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