J.J. Abrams Reveals the Female Director He Wants For a Star Wars Movie

By December 9, 2015
j.j. abrams star wars featured image

Most of us know that J.J. Abrams is a smart man. Whether you love or hate lens flares, there is no denying his passion as a creative force: rebooting the Star Trek film franchise, creating hit genre shows like Alias, LOST, and Fringe, plus directing that little sequel set in a galaxy far, far, away, about to hit theaters in a week.

But just when I thought you I couldn’t like him more, he sat down with Yahoo Movies to talk about Kathleen Kennedy and Disney’s plan to find a female director to helm a future Star Wars movie. When asked who he’d like to see take on the formidable job, he replied:

“One name that immediately comes to mind is Ava DuVernay, who I thought did just a mind-blowingly great job with Selma,”

Yeah, that would be all kinds of perfect.

Hollywood has, rightfully, been called out in regards to its treatment of women by a number of recent publications and online sites, including Vulture’s 100 Woman Directors Hollywood Should be Hiring and Jennifer Lawrence’s Lenny Letter.

While many still refuse to believe or acknowledge the issue of sexism in Hollywood, others are taking a stand and doing their part to make sure that female voices are heard in the industry, particularly from the director’s chair. One such voice is definitely DuVernay, though she’s already been using it quite a bit this last year (follow her on twitter at @AVAETC) as she’s championed many minority causes in a powerful, but positive, manner.

Not only that, she directed one of last year’s most critically acclaimed films, Selma, and was circling Marvel’s Black Panther movie, set to be released in early 2018. Though she parted ways with Marvel over creative differences for the Chadwick Boseman comic book movie, she clearly has interest in directing a big budget, genre film for a major studio, like Disney (to counteract those who argue that female directors “don’t want to direct blockbusters”…). Add to that DuVernay’s history working in promotion for a number of high profile, big budget blockbusters, as well as her twitter campaign #CelebrateStarWarsVII in answer to a wave of racism aimed at John Boyega’s starring role in The Force Awakens, DuVernay clearly has the know-how, drive, and passion to take on a project like Star Wars.

Abrams went on to say about DuVernay,

 “She’s my knee jerk reaction because she loves the world so much, loves the genre, and she’s such a talented story teller.”

Right on point, Abrams. Thanks to prominent voices like his, along with Kathleen Kennedy, Jennifer Lawrence, and others, real change can be enacted in the industry and the proof will be in the product. So many naysayers claim female directors can’t handle big budget films, but if no-one is given the chance, how can we know that? If Disney and DuVernay can come to an agreement, history could be made…and we might just get the best Star Wars movie yet out of the deal!

Though the next five films set in the Star Wars Universe have directors already attached; Gareth Edwards (Star Wars Anthology: Rogue One), Rian Johnson (Episode VIII), Phil Lord and Chris Miller (an unnamed Star Wars Anthology film about a young Han Solo), and Colin Trevorrow (Episode IX), it seems more than likely that, at the very least, more Anthology films are coming and DuVernay could line up for one of those (perhaps starring a red headed bad-ass modeled after Mara Jade from Timothy Zahn’s Heir to the Empire Novel!? A girl can dream!).

Make sure you check back for more updates — right here on GeekNation.

Rachel Cushing
Rachel is a television editor by day and either a Jedi knight, vampire slayer, or elvish warrior by night. In between she makes time for movies, movies, and more movies (plus a few books, television shows, and then…more movies). When she’s supposed to be sleeping, she writes about movies as well, both here on Geeknation.com and on her own blog. Tweet her @RachelJCushing
  • Justin McGill

    is this the go to name now? I know the talent pool is rather narrow and isn’t as well known as the male pool of directors, but I think someone more suited to action and and fantasy would be a bit better.. especially ones that can get great performances out of the actors. It just seems like every thing else we are getting ONE name to be the end all be all answer. I would say someone who is BETTER known in the genre.. although not so sure if she would be up to it now.. but back in the mid 90s Kathryn Bigelow would have been a good choice. Although her choices now seem much more serious and dramtic rather than the sci fi/fantasy.. but the Strange Days/Near Dark era would have been awesome…

    • Rachel

      How do we know DuVernay isn’t suited to directing a big budget action/fantasy film? Universal gambled on Colin Trevorrow for Jurassic World and Warner Brothers on Gareth Edwards for Godzilla, when neither director had done anything like those films before. Why shouldn’t Disney give DuVernay the chance, especially if she wants it, has a vision for it, and is passionate about it? I agree that Bigelow would make a kickass big budget Star Wars movie, but maybe she isn’t interested, or is booked with other projects…The truth is that there ARE strong female directors out there who want a shot at a film like Star Wars, and we’ll only know if they are good at it once they’ve tried (which is true of anyone, male or female).

      • Justin McGill

        I’ll take your point on their previous work being smaller but they were both genre films. Selma was decidedly not. Even though I do feel there is a weird let’s put someone who’s done ONE film out there a bit too quick. But I can say those two examples clearly had clear genre influences. Even though I was not enamored with either film (Godzilla or Jurassic) as much as others seem to be.