Last year the Star Wars franchise came back with a vengeance as Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens shattered nearly everyone’s expectations and the box office records that stood in front. This revitalization of the universe has been a big help in generating even more excitement for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, which will be the first non-saga movie ever. This has made it an experiment by all accounts and if successful opens the doors for Lucasfilm and Disney to do seemingly whatever they want in the Star Wars realm.
They have already announced three more upcoming films with Star Wars: Episode VIII, a young Han Solo movie starring Alden Ehrenreich, and Star Wars: Episode IX being next up on their lists. Each of these films already has directors attached, but as the universe moves forward, theres is a desire from fans and those in the studios to add diversity to the makers of these movies. Kathleen Kennedy, the president of Lucasfilm, recently spoke about their commitment to hiring female directors, but the comments came under fire for saying those with no experience can’t come in and make these types of movies. However, she has just clarified her statement.
At a Rogue One press conference today, Kennedy was asked about the possibility of hiring female directors for future Star Wars movies. She once again states that they are interested in hiring female directors as long as they are qualified to do so. When she was then asked if there were any she wants to work with, she confirms that they’ve met with several that have potential to join the Star Wars franchise moving forward.
Q. The Star Wars films have done a lot for female characters and female heroes, but the movies have yet to have a female director, and you recently said that a woman who has no experience with blockbusters wouldn’t be suitable for a Star Wars movie. However, multiple male directors have had that opportunity. So I’m curious, why is it different for women…
Kathleen Kennedy: That’s not true. [Pats Gareth Edwards’ shoulder]. This gentleman did Godzilla before we hired him to direct the movie, and that quote was taken out of context. And I, as you can imagine, have every intention of giving somebody an opportunity. So if somebody actually moves through the process of making movies and wants to make a Star Wars movie, and shows that they have actually stepped into the role on that level, of course we’re going to consider a woman. That goes without saying.
Q. Could you name any female directors that you think have potential?
Kathleen Kennedy: I think there’s many. And I’ve talked to most of them. [Laughter] So, there are many out there.
As the Star Wars franchise moves forward, it should only be a matter of time before they make good on their recent comments. These are some of the biggest films currently being made and it would be foolish for them not to use their status to continue and push an environment and process that gives equel opportunity to all. Disney has pushed this across the board by bringing Ava DuVernay into the family for A Wrinkle In Time, Ryan Coogler for Black Panther, and continue to search for a female director for Captain Marvel. In fact, they could very well be meeting with Captain Marvel contenders for future Star Wars projects as well.
Kennedy is not wrong in wanting to make sure whatever director they choose is capable of handling the pressures that come with a major franchise, but giving them the opportunity to succeed is equally important. Both Gareth Edwards (Rogue One) and Colin Trevorrow (Episode IX) were not heavily experienced before tackling this franchise, but each showed that they were capable of the task in both indie films and larger ones as well. They will likely look at a similar track for all directors they consider, which should lead to female directors boarding the franchise in the near future.
Source: Kathleen Kennedy