Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy has hired less experienced directors for the most recent Star Wars films, with Monster's Gareth Edwards getting the reins for Rogue One and Looper's Rian Johnson in charge of The Last Jedi. Even Episode IX's Colin Trevorrow, who now has blockbuster experience on Jurassic World, caught Kennedy's attention before the feature for his work on the indie Safety Not Guaranteed.
Like The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams, Lord and Miller don't fit this mold. The two have been working in both film and television for years and have dozens of credits to their names, including big hits like Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, The Lego Movie, and the 21 Jump Street franchise. Unlike some of the franchise's past directors, the pair had experience with large budgets and well-known properties, and this reportedly gave them certain expectations about their control on set.
Sources say Kennedy was very involved in the production, disagreeing with the way the directors interacted with the cast and crew and causing a "culture clash" from day one — as one source put it, "She didn't even like the way they folded their socks." These differences were apparently exacerbated over time, ultimately leading to the break.
Those reports notwithstanding, Kennedy's production style has been defended by Last Jedi director Johnson, who responded to a fan's tweet about the firing by insisting that he "had as much creative control on TLJ as I've ever had on any of my own movies." Rather than a case of micromanagement, in other words, this may just be an old-fashioned culture clash.