The timing of the announcement of Jon Favreau's new Star Wars live-action TV series has been met with harsh criticism on social media on International Women's Day. Disney and Lucasfilm took another big step forward in the Star Wars universe Thursday with the announcement that Favreau would be executive producing and writing a live-action TV series that will be featured on Disney’s streaming service, which is launching sometime next year.
While no specific details were offered about Favreau's series, it's the third live-action Star Wars project announced by Lucasfilm since November, when the studio first announced that Star Wars: The Last Jedi writer-director Rian Johnson was developing a new Star Wars trilogy that would be set apart from the Skywalker saga. Then, last month, in another surprise announcement, Lucasfilm said Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss were also hired to write and produce their own Star Wars film series.
Still, while Favreau is a tried-and-true Disney talent (as director of the live-action versions of Jungle Book and the upcoming Lion King) and is part of the Star Wars family with a cameo role in Solo: A Star Wars Story, the announcement of the filmmaker creating an upcoming Star Wars TV series is experiencing backlash because of its timing. According to THR, a pair of film journalists in addition to fans are ripping the timing of the reveal because it happened on International Women's Day. IndieWire film critic Anne Thompson was the most prominent of the voices slamming Lucasfilm's announcement, calling it "Bad PR timing." Thompson also says:
"Women have a tough time getting the experience they need to compete for plum jobs like this. Even few men boast the array of proven skills — writing, acting, directing, VFX — that Jon Favreau has. Hollywood needs to give more women chances to build that toolset."
Star Wars is allergic to women of color in production, writing, and directorial roles. Yes, I know about the women in the LucasFilm Story Group. Let's have more than just that. https://t.co/hSxOfQsNXT
— WaCONda Forever (@ConStar24) March 8, 2018
Also upset over the announcement was Black Girl Nerds writer Constance Gibbs, who fired off a series of tweets that noted how Star Wars was ignoring women filmmakers of color in such key positions as producing, directing and writing. See Gibbs' tweets above.
In one of Gibbs' tweets, the writer says that she hoped "Favreau hires inclusively." Luckily, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy was out in front of the issue in the announcement, saying, "This series will allow Jon the chance to work with a diverse group of writers and directors and give Lucasfilm the opportunity to build a robust talent base.”
Given the frequency of the announcements of the announcements by Lucasfilm, it will be interesting to see whether the next big reveal by Lucasfilm will be about a female being in charge of the next big project in store for the studio, whether it be as the creator of a new film or TV series, or the director of an individual film or films in one of the new trilogies. Sure, while such notable directors like Patty Jenkins and Ava DuVernay have expressed little or no interest in directing a Star Wars film, there are plenty of talent directors like The Handmaid's Tale helmer Reed Morano who could (even though Morano says her meeting with Lucasfilm wasn't about Star Wars). If anything, fans can hope that talent base that Kennedy is hoping to build under Favreau's wing will produce some female Star Wars directors for the future.
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019