‘Star Wars’ most powerful executives are now engaged in an epic battle

Unfortunate that you rushed to face him.
Image: WireImage

Kathleen Kennedy must’ve known that one day she would have to face her former master, no matter how far George Lucas drifted into the outer-rim territories of Star Wars.

But this battle of destiny, between the two most powerful figures in the franchise’s 40-year history, won’t take place on the sprawling catwalks of some architectural marvel floating above a city in the clouds.

Actually, wait yes it might. Have you seen the mock-ups for these things?

As of Tuesday night, Kennedy is at the forefront of an uphill effort to open the long-gestating Academy Museum in Los Angeles. And she’ll want to do it before Lucas lands his own fully operational museum just seven miles to the south and east.

The George Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, recently approved and scheduled to open in 2021:

Is it a fast ship?

And the Academy Museum, scheduled to open in 2017 2018 2019 (2020? 2021?).

She’s got it where it counts, kid.

Image: The academy for motion picture arts and sciences

Kennedy, Lucas’ hand-picked head of Lucasfilm since Disney bought his empire, on Tuesday night was named to the Academy’s board of governors, where she will chair the museum committee. She’ll work closely with Academy CEO Dawn Hudson to navigate the financial and logistical astroid field that has kept the ambitious mid-city project in development since long before the Force awakened or anyone even considered roguing one.

Meanwhile Lucas, unencumbered by the internal bureaucracy and supply problems that would drive Anakin Skywalker to murder, can ostensibly just plow ahead with his vision for a museum near USC. The Force is strong with his 2021 target.

The Academy’s two-year advantage is in danger of evaporating quickly, especially considering its track record for delays and incinerating cash.

Lucas and Kennedy are obviously good friends and longtime collaborators, but they’re also fiercely competitive and highly motivated people. And you better believe neither wants to open a major, enduring Los Angeles cultural attraction in the shadow of the other.

The stakes seem higher for the Academy, whose investment of time and treasure have been a vast drain on its resources over several years. Opening after Lucas whose plans, let’s face it, have a much wider brand appeal could steal much of its thunder.

Start your engines!

Now this is museum-racing.

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