The reinvigoration of the Star Wars franchise is an exciting time for fans and filmmakers alike. Lucasfilm is currently working on bringing us five new films set in the galaxy far, far away, with Episodes VII – IX and two standalones set to debut over the next several years. Directors J.J. Abrams, Rian Johnson, Colin Trevorrow, Gareth Edwards, Phil Lord and Chris Miller all have very unique opportunities here, but there’s one very important thing they all have in common. They’re dudes. And it’s no secret (though it is a shame) that dudes have long had an advantage over women when it comes to opportunities in Hollywood. However, according to Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, changes are underway that will one day land a female in a Star Wars director’s chair.
In a recent interview (via Fortune), Kennedy revealed her intention to hand the reigns over to a woman:
It is going to happen. We are going to hire a woman who’s going to direct a Star Wars movie. I have no doubt. On the other hand, I want to make sure we put someone in that position who’s set up for success. It’s not just a token job to look out and try to find a woman that we could put into a position of directing Star Wars… If we do want to bring a woman in to direct a Star Wars movie, we want to make sure that it’s somebody who’s passionate and really, really wants to do a Star Wars movie. We don’t want to talk somebody into it.
This is not only very welcome news, it’s also reassuring that Lucasfilm’s determined to go about this the right way. Yes, it would be very easy for them to just hire anyone and go “Look! We hired a woman! Progress!” And while that would be progress, it would also be set up for potential failure and we’d all be back to square one. The most important thing isn’t just hiring a woman, it’s hiring the RIGHT woman who can make a kickass Star Wars movie.
The good news is that times, they are already a-changing. According to Kennedy, while there may not be a woman in the director’s chair (yet), many of the people working behind the scenes are female.
Fifty percent of our executive team are women. Six out of eight of the people in my Story Group are women. I think it’s making a huge difference in the kind of stories we’re trying to tell.
That’s some very real progress. And of course the stories they’re telling look like they will feature strong female characters with Daisey Ridley, Felicity Jones, and two mystery characters featured in prominent roles in the upcoming films. But obviously the biggest step will come when we see a woman’s name under “Directed By” in the credits. Here’s hoping Kennedy and Lucasfilm can find the right fit.
Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens opens in 63 days on December 18th, 2015.
Make sure to keep checking back for more updates — right here on GeekNation.
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