New Star Wars rumors indicate Lucasfilm hired white women, men of color, and/or women of color in secret for upcoming film projects. After Disney acquired Lucasfilm in 2012, the studio announced a relaunch of the franchise that was originally kicked off by George Lucas' Star Wars: A New Hope in 1977. Three new films have so far debuted as part of the relaunch, including J.J. Abrams' Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Gareth Edwards' Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and Rian Johnson's Star Wars: The Last Jedi. However, plenty more Star Wars movies are in the works.
The next movies up on the slate are Ron Howard's Solo: A Star Wars Story and Abrams' Star Wars Episode IX. Additionally, Johnson is working on a Star Wars trilogy of his own and Lucasfilm most recently announced a new series of movies from David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, the showrunners of HBO's Game of Thrones. However, the news of Benioff and Weiss developing their own Star Wars film series - on the heels of Johnson's trilogy - has caused many fans to wonder when Lucasfilm will entrust a white woman, woman of color, or man of color with a Star Wars film. Now, rumors indicate the studio may already have.
Franklin Leonard, founder of The Black List, tweeted he has heard rumors that Lucasfilm hired "multiple women and people of color to write and direct Star Wars films," but the studio kept it a secret. The Tracking Board's Jeff Sneider backed up the rumors, confirming he'd heard the same, but did not indicate which writers and directors had been tapped. Sneider additionally speculates the reason Lucasfilm hasn't made the hirings public is because the studio is unsure whether the projects will move forward.
Sneider posits that two people Disney may have discreetly hired to work in a galaxy far, far away are filmmakers the studio has worked with before and who are currently promoting major releases: Black Panther helmer/co-writer Ryan Coogler and A Wrinkle in Time director Ava DuVernay. Sneider additionally reports he heard at the time of DuVernay being hired for A Wrinkle in Time that it was "a test-run of sorts, to prove she could handle a nine-figure budget and deliver a box office hit." With box office estimates for Black Panther currently indicating the film will be a success, and Disney continuing to build the hype for A Wrinkle in Time, it's likely both will be hits, which could lead to announcements of Coogler and DuVernay's involvement in Star Wars films - if these rumors turn out to be true.
Of course, as Sneider and many others have pointed out, the optics of Lucasfilm's upcoming Star Wars slate aren't great in terms of who has been hired to write and direct. Though the full roster of writers and directors on Johnson's trilogy and the Benioff and Weiss film series haven't been announced, a recent report found 96 percent of Star Wars films' writers and directors are white men - with the one exception being Leigh Brackett, who received a screenplay credit for Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back in 1980. We know Lucasfilm started planning the next decade of Star Wars movies last year, but as of yet, we know little about that plan.
Certainly, the rumor that Lucasfilm has, in fact, hired men of color, women of color, and/or white women to develop Star Wars projects would go a long way in proving the studio has made strides in terms of representation in major creative roles on the film franchise. But, that's only if the rumor is proved true. If Coogler and/or DuVernay have been hired for Star Wars projects, we'll likely learn more after their films have hit theaters. Hopefully more announcements will arrive in the coming months in regards to Lucasfilm's upcoming Star Wars movies.
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019