Star Wars: The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson supports the calls for more diverse directors on the Star Wars movie franchise. Johnson himself will develop an entire new trilogy of Star Wars films unrelated to the current trilogy. Star Wars IX will soon speed into production too, with J.J. Abrams returning to direct after Colin Trevorrow exited. When will a woman and/or person of color get a chance to tackle a Star Wars film? The question will be asked more-and-more, as an increasingly diverse group of filmmakers find mainstream industry success.
Diversity didn't concern George Lucas when he produced the original Star Wars in 1977. The franchise took a step forward on The Empire Strikes Back when Billy Dee Williams played Lando Calrissian. On 2015's Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the first Star Wars for Disney, cast diversity became a selling-point. The movie featured a female lead in Daisy Ridley, a major black character in John Boyega's Finn, and Lupita Nyong'o in a performance capture role as Maz Kanata. Star Wars: The Last Jedi is even more diverse, with Kelly Marie Tran and Benicio Del Toro taking major roles. The next step, in many people's minds, is for Disney to push for diversity behind the camera as well.
Related: The Last Jedi Early Review Roundup
Speaking to Yahoo! Movies UK at the Last Jedi press conference in London, Rian Johnson added his voice to the chorus calling for women and people of color to finally get their shot at directing a Star Wars movie. Johnson said:
“Hell yes it’s time! There are so many incredibly talented female directors, directors of color out there. And so many I would love to see play in this universe. Yes please, I would love it to happen.”
Among female directors who might tackle Star Wars, Patty Jenkins and Ava DuVernay are the two whose names most often come up. Wonder Woman director Jenkins actually seemed lukewarm on the prospect of tackling Star Wars when speaking to Screen Rant earlier this year. Jenkins said she takes things on a film-by-film basis, and would never take a project she didn't feel comfortable with. Ava DuVernay has gone on record saying she would direct a Star Wars film (but not a Marvel movie). DuVernay already works under the Disney umbrella, having directed A Wrinkle in Time for the studio. Even J.J. Abrams endorsed the idea of DuVernay directing Star Wars, back in 2015.
The Disney/Marvel stable already has one prominent black male director in the fold in Black Panther's Ryan Coogler. If Black Panther succeeds, Coogler should shoot to the top of the list for every franchise Disney handles. Jordan Peele will also continue getting attention after the success of his horror movie Get Out - although Peele has made it clear he would rather develop his own original projects than jump aboard a franchise.
Before any woman or POC lands a job directing a Star Wars film, Disney and Lucasfilm need to figure out their future slate. Solo: A Star Wars Story is set (from white male Ron Howard) but beyond that, things remain a bit murky. Boba Fett, Jabba the Hutt and Obi-Wan Kenobi spin-off films are rumored, but nothing is definite. After Rian Johnson was given a blank check to develop his own trilogy, perhaps we'll next see someone like Ava DuVernay or Ryan Coogler get free rein to dream up their own new story under the Star Wars banner. For a universe as expansive as Star Wars, the possibilities really should be endless.
Source: Yahoo! Movies UK
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 8/Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) release date: Dec 15, 2017
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019