If you watched Solo: A Star Wars Story, you probably noticed that the movie had a dedication in the credits. Solo is dedicated to Allison Shearmur, who was one of the film's producers. Shearmur sadly passed away in January 2018 after a battle with lung cancer, but she spent her last days working on the blockbuster movie. The day before her death, she even attended a meeting about the visual effects for Solo, and was completely invested in assuring the movie’s success.
Before Solo, Shearmur had worked on Rogue One as a producer, becoming a major part of Lucasfilm. Upon her death, the company released a touching statement showing how much Shearmur's work meant to the Star Wars anthology. It reads,
Allison Shearmur passed away on Friday, January 19. She was a producer on Rogue One and Solo, along with many, many other films and TV projects, including the Bourne franchise and the Hunger Games series. She was an incredible creative force in the movie industry, known and respected by all with whom she worked. And for us, she was more than just a great producer — she was a beloved member of the Lucasfilm family. She was our Alli.
Solo director Ron Howard also paid tribute to the late producer on Twitter, with a heartfelt message that highlighted her hardworking nature. The text reads, “A tragic loss. My heart goes out to Alli’s family whom she adored. Alli was an important colleague & friend over many years who never backed away from any challenge but at all times was both powerfully effective & graciously humanistic. RIP.”
As the Lucasfilm tribute noted, Shearmur’s work wasn’t limited to the Star Wars universe. Prior to becoming a producer, she worked as an executive for some of the biggest studios in the industry, according to Variety: Disney, Universal, Paramount, and Lionsgate. As Senior Vice President of production at Universal, she played a huge role in turning Bourne Identity into a huge hit. The New York Times reports that the year Shearmur joined Universal, she convinced filmmaker Tony Gilroy to team up with William Blake Heron to write the screenplay. Gilroy initially didn’t want to, reportedly describing the movie as a “lackluster project.” Shearmur was persistent, though. She relentlessly pushed Gilroy to join the film, and it turned into a massively successful billion-dollar anthology.
As co-president of production at Paramount, Shearmur also worked on blockbusters, such as The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Zodiac, and Failure to Launch. As The New York Times obituary noted, she strongly believed in each project she was involved in. Rogue One was particularly special; Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy asked Shearmur to join her as producer, but midway through production, Shearmur found out she had lung cancer.
Instead of slowing down, though, she continued on with the movie and helped make it the hit it was. In an interview for her obituary in The New York Times, Gilroy, who also co-wrote the script for Rogue One, detailed how important Shearmur’s involvement was in the film. “When you see the success of the movie and complications of its production and the triumph of its reception, those things are to her credit,” said Gilroy. “It’s as much her movie as anyone else’s.”
Even in Schearmur's final days in the hospital, The New York Times reports, she still was committed to her work, asking her husband to bring her a script written by her former assistant which she wanted to turn into a film. In a male-dominated industry, Shearmur became a prominent female figure who undoubtedly paved the way for many people with dreams of becoming Hollywood producers. Her legacy lives on with Solo and all the incredible movies she played a role in turning into box office hits.