Star Wars: Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy Addresses Backlash to The Acolyte

The filmmaker weighs in on the challenges of telling stories in male-dominated spaces.

With Star Wars: The Acolyte not only being developed by female filmmakers, but also focusing on a number of female characters, select corners of the Star Wars fandom are already expressing their anger at the mere notion of the story. Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy has addressed these issues, which she's been having to put up with not only in her entire time at the studio but also throughout her career. Kennedy also expressed how it was "terrifying" to merely attempt to tell these stories, given the vitriolic nature of social media. Star Wars: The Acolyte premieres on Disney+ on June 4th.

"Operating within these giant franchises now, with social media and the level of expectation -- it's terrifying," Kennedy shared with The New York Times. "I think [series creator] Leslye [Headland] has struggled a little bit with it. I think a lot of the women who step into Star Wars struggle with this a bit more. Because of the fan base being so male-dominated, they sometimes get attacked in ways that can be quite personal."

She added, "My belief is that storytelling does need to be representative of all people. That's an easy decision for me."

Headland herself also weighed in on the matter, explaining not only how she has to walk a "razor's edge" of fan expectations in regards to representation, but also giving herself the freedom to tell the story that organically unfolds in front of her.

"As a fan myself, I know how frustrating some Star Wars storytelling in the past has been. I've felt it myself. I stand by my empathy for Star Wars fans. But I want to be clear. Anyone who engages in bigotry, racism, or hate speech ... I don't consider a fan," the showrunner detailed. As far as her storytelling is concerned, "You're thinking, 'This is what people want from Star Wars. This is what people don't want.' It can mess with your head. During the creative process, I had to give myself the forgiveness, as an artist, to fall off the razor – as long as I got back up. That was my promise to myself."

Set during The High Republic, Star Wars: The Acolyte delivers an investigation into a mysterious string of crimes, which pits a Jedi master against his former apprentice in a race to uncover the truth. The more that the pair learn about the situation, the darker their journey becomes, as they confront things that darker than either of them could have imagined.

The series stars Amandla Stenberg, Lee Jung-jae, Manny Jacinto, Dafne Keen, Charlie Barnett, Jodie Turner-Smith, Rebecca Henderson, Dean-Charles Chapman, Joonas Suotamo, and Carrie-Anne Moss. Star Wars: The Acolyte premieres on Disney+ on June 4th.

What do you think of the filmmakers' remarks? Contact Patrick Cavanaugh directly on Twitter or on Instagram to talk all things Star Wars and horror