Kathleen Kennedy is a very experienced producer and production company executive. She spent decades working for Steven Spielberg (she started out as his assistant) and she has all that experience to draw on.
But, studio executives don’t originate most projects, they are pitched ideas and then hire people to make them happen. In Kennedy’s case, her experience was primarily in supporting Spielberg, and he’s definitely not someone you tell what to do. You help make his ideas a reality.
So now she’s running Lucasfilm, she’s hiring people who have strong visions of what a ‘Star Wars’ film should be. They’re all real fans; Abrams, Johnson, Edwards and Lord & Miller but ‘Star Wars’ is a broad church and there are a lot of denominations. Each time they change a filmmaker they switch from one branch of the faith to another.
With Lucas, it was all him, even when he brought in other people, it was still his universe. There’s no-one like that at the company anymore.
Bringing Abrams back means we’re going to get something that’s more like ‘Force Awakens’ than anything else. He’ll give us more of what ‘Star Wars’ means to him and he’ll do that because no-one will tell him not to.
And because his film made $2bn.