Alan F. Horn, the chairman over the Walt Disney Studios, is apparently keeping very close tabs on the production of Star Wars Episode IX. In fact, according to a recent interview he had with The Hollywood Reporter, Horn receives “dailies” of the production progress and reviews them every single weekend while sending notes to Kathleen Kennedy and J.J. Abrams after viewing them.
There was a prerequisite question before getting to Star Wars‘ production, and that was managing the expectations of the film, especially coming off the failure that was Solo: A Star Wars Story and the negative reception to Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
“It’s always a challenge because — and I say this with love and respect for media — the thing about these big movies is they get a lot of attention, whether positive or negative. So when they don’t work, like [Solo: A Star Wars Story], the media says it’s a failure. I think it was a pretty good movie. It didn’t resonate as much as we’d hoped it would, but the press writes it up in a more negative way than I would. These are very high-profile movies. If Aladdin, which I happen to think is a terrific film, doesn’t work somehow, that’s big news and much bigger news than if a movie somewhere else, like The Kid Who Would Be King [at Fox,] doesn’t work.”
This led The Hollywood Reporter into the next question about if Horn and the rest of the production crew under his watch would be getting Star Wars: Episode IX back on track.
Nonchalantly, Horn stated…
“I just got back from the United Kingdom, which is not so united. (Laughs.) I went to the set, and was with J.J. [Abrams], Kathy and the cast. I watched a couple of scenes being shot and then we all had dinner. I have not seen a cut of it yet, but I watch dailies every weekend and send J.J. and Kathy a note every weekend. It’s a big deal, and it’s going to be terrific.”
Now to put this into context, a Reddit user going by the handle of Frog_and_Toad made a post on the saltierthancrait sub-reddit, breaking down what Horn meant about “dailies” and explaining the production process of what that means for Star Wars: Episode IX, writing…
“The “dailies” are uncut footage from a day’s production shoot. It is generally pretty rough, is not edited or processed, and may have a bunch of extra material that will be cut out at the end.
“Normally you do not watch the “dailies” unless you are a director or producer. They won’t make a lot of sense unless you have insight to the script and production schedule.
”Yet the Chairman of Disney is watching the dailies and giving feedback. The Chairman of DISNEY!”
To clarify, Horn is not actually the chairman of Disney, but rather the chairman over the Walt Disney Studios division, which handles film. Bob Iger is the chairman and CEO over the Walt Disney Company, which spans every division of Disney.
Even still, it’s a fairly significant news story that someone as high up as Horn is actively – every weekend, in fact – watching the unprocessed footage of Star Wars: Episode IX to see if it’s staying on track.
The users on the sub-reddit believe that this is “not good” and that there must be a lot of pressure on J.J. Abrams to deliver a blockbuster.
This also comes after the story group head, Kiri Hart, parted ways with Lucasfilm to work on a separate project. She still occasionally does consulting at Lucasfilm, but she’s effectively no longer an executive within the division.
With so much riding on Star Wars: Episode IX being a success, it’s no shock that Disney is likely keeping a close eye on the project to avoid another Last Jedi disaster. And unlike Rian Johnson, so far J.J. Abrams hasn’t taken a jog to social media in order to blame #GamerGate and Russian trolls for the backlash.
Star Wars: Episode IX is due out in theaters at the end of the year.
(Thanks for the news tip Julian Leonardo Reyes Aka SkullReapingNinja1993)