Star Wars has been no stranger to toxic comments from fans, as many saw most recently with Rose Tico actress Kelly Marie Tran, who left social media altogether after remarks made about her following Episode VIII: The Last Jedi.
Meanwhile, there have also been rumors circulating regarding Kennedy potentially being let go from her Lucasfilm job, all while the franchise looks to get back on its feet in terms of its big-screen movies.
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Looking at the comments that Kennedy sees every day, Gilroy was shocked by what he saw happen during his work on Rogue One: A Star Wars Story:
"It was shocking on 'Rogue [One],' because I didn’t really have any exposure when Rogue happened and everything that happened. I was really blown back by what was going on and this that I hadn’t paid attention to. So I knew about it when I came back, I knew what to expect."
He understands the passion that the fandom community shows for Star Wars, noting that this love is "something that you really have to pay attention to:"
"You have to realize about that community that their passion… they love this thing so much. The hardcore, deepest you have within that community of Shiites, and Sunnis, and Kurds, and you have all kinds of people who have different… but their love of the show, and the love of what it means to them is something that you really have to pay attention to."
Gilroy's main focus when developing his material is to "never ever be cynical about it," making sure to treat the material with the respect and seriousness that it deserves:
"So my attitude has been, and the attitude of the show is, as much as we– as far out there as we get, and as much as we bend the tone and the idea, we can never ever be cynical about it. We have to take it more seriously than anybody’s ever taken it. We’re never winking. We’re never kidding it."
The shows feature "a mix of people" who aren't as familiar with Star Wars along with die-hard fans, explaining that the "marriage of knowledge and history" combines with a desire to take the story somewhere good:
"And so we have this mix of people who know nothing about Star Wars on our show, and then we have a bunch of people on the show that are huge nerds, and it’s the marriage of knowledge and history mixed with a real ambition to take it some place else with a, hopefully, respect… I want to respect that audience."
Taking things back to Kennedy, he made it clear that he doesn't envy the job she has to do considering all the comments she sees all over the Internet:
"Now, I do read what they– There’s no way doing it and not being controversial. There’s no way. It’s impossible. And like, [Kathleen Kennedy]’s job is like… You don’t wanna be Kathy ever up on the Internet. It’s just… What she goes through and what they… And it’s been on for years…"
And while he commends Kennedy for having "pretty thick skin" in that endeavor, he also noted that those comments don't force many changes to the material he and the team develop behind the scenes:
"Yeah, you gotta have pretty thick skin to do that. But, I pay attention. I don’t think we made any real adjustments because of it, but it’s been interesting to watch."
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Although there is always room for constructive criticism in the Star Wars universe, as there is with any franchise, Tony Gilroy empathizes with the commentary that Kathleen Kennedy has to see on such a regular basis.
And while it's still unclear whether Kennedy will actually remain with Lucasfilm, Gilroy noted that she has all the support that she could ask for from the inside as fellow writers and directors stand by her side.
Currently, the Lucasfilm president is in the middle of rearranging the entire theatrical side of Star Wars, which reportedly is at the start of a five-year plan to get back to the same glory it saw years ago.
And as this new slate develops, Kennedy continues to stand at the forefront hyping up everything on the way over the next few months and years, which will hopefully put the galaxy far, far away back on top of the game.