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Lucasfilm Sued by Former Producer on ‘Star Wars’ Series ‘The Acolyte’ for Breach of Contract

Karyn McCarthy allegedly was fired "without explanation, without reason, without justification" after two weeks.

The Acolyte

Behind the scenes on “The Acolyte”

Christian Black

Lucasfilm has dealt with plenty of shakeups over “Star Wars” recently, but now the studio is facing a full-fledged lawsuit over their beloved franchise. Lawyers for producer Karyn McCarthy have filed a lawsuit against Lucasfilm over her axing from the upcoming Disney+ “Star Wars” show “The Acolyte,” Deadline is reporting.

According to filings obtained by Deadline and submitted to the LA Superior Court on Tuesday, McCarthy — whose former producing credits include “Ballers,” “Insecure,” and “House of Cards” — is suing for breach of contract over her dismissal from “The Acolyte,” an upcoming “Star Wars” show created by “Russian Doll’s” Leslye Headland. The specific monetary damages asked for are unclear, but the lawsuit claims that McCarthy lost out on “millions of dollars” as a result of Lucasfilm’s alleged “bad faith and wrongful termination.”

Lucasfilm declined to comment. In a statement to IndieWire, one of McCarthy’s attorneys Robert Allen referred to the suit as a “last resort” after a “bizarre and unfounded termination.”

“For over 35 years, Karyn has hired thousands of people for several major studios on many high-profile projects. She knows when a deal is a deal. Throughout her entire career — from office assistant, location manager, unit production manager and eventually producer — she has prioritized fairness, kindness and human decency,” Allen said in his statement. “Even after the bizarre and unfounded termination, Karyn approached Lucasfilm without a lawyer to get paid for what she was owed. Lucasfilm responded with lawyers and lies. Filing suit was the last resort.”

According to the suit, McCarthy boarded “The Acolyte” in April 2022 as an executive producer, a few months before the show began production. At the time, McCarthy was also in discussions to join the producing team of Apple TV+’s upcoming series “Sugar,” starring Colin Farrell. After beginning work on April 7, McCarthy signed an agreement on April 11, only to allegedly be dismissed from the show two weeks later.

“Two weeks later, without explanation, without reason, without justification, Lucasfilm told McCarthy it wanted out of the deal,” the filing reads. “By this time, the Apple offer was gone – Apple had to move on and found another executive producer for ‘Sugar.’ McCarthy now had neither deal.”

The lawsuit further alleges that after McCarthy asked for compensation for her two weeks of work, Lucasfilm denied that there was any agreement, ignoring that she had already begun work and had received an offer and a memorandum of agreement. Instead, the studio allegedly offered her only $5,000 for a single day’s work, but McCarthy rejected it and allegedly received no compensation for her work on the series.

“McCarthy is therefore forced to bring this action to hold Lucasfilm accountable for its egregious breach of their agreement, its bad faith denial of that agreement, and for the statutory penalties McCarthy is entitled for its failure to pay her for her work,” the lawsuit continues.

“The Acolyte,” one of many upcoming “Star Wars” TV shows coming to Disney+, has been in production in the UK since October 2022. The show, which stars Amandla Stenberg and Lee Jung-jae, is described as a “mystery thriller” focusing on a former Padawan, or trainee in the fictional Jedi order, as she reunites with her master to investigate a bizarre series of crimes. Since McCarthy’s exit, the producing team on the show now includes Headland, Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy, Simon Emanuel, Jeff F. King, and Jason Micallef as executive producers, as well as Rayne Roberts and Damian Anderson as producers.

Additional reporting by Brian Welk

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