Lucasfilm, a subsidiary of Disney, has always had an impressive number of women in management positions. Kathleen Kennedy also serves as the brand manager for Star Wars, working directly with Disney's global lines of business to build,
further integrate, and maximize the value of this global franchise. Kennedy serves as producer on new Star Wars feature films, while George Lucas is the creative consultant which may be more of a decorative title than anything else.
However Lucasfilm’s best known film “Star Wars,” franchise have long struggled to echo that kind of equality in its most sought after position: feature film director. With the last of the Star Wars trilogy due out in December and spinoffs are being created, more people are asking when will a female director being granted entry into that club?
Of course strides have been made. JJ Abrams chose Victoria Mahoney as his second unit director on “The Rise of Skywalker,” marking the first time an African-American woman has served in any directing capacity on a “Star Wars” film. In addition, screenwriter Laeta Kalogridis is reportedly working on creating a film trilogy centered around the franchise’s “Knights of the Old Republic,” but that hasn’t been formally announced by Lucasfilm.
Should this new tribology be green lit, which would most likely depend on how how “The Rise of Skywalker” does at the box office, Kalogridis will join a very small group. The only other credited female writer in the “Star Wars” universe is Leigh Brackett, who shared a credit with Lawrence Kasdan on 1980’s “The Empire Strikes Back.”
Despite the lack of female directors and screenwriters, the franchise continues to dig into female-centric stories, from the ongoing Skywalker Saga, which initially boasted Princess Leia as a lead and has now been given over to the journey of Daisy Ridley’s Rey, to the “Rogue One” spinoff which followed Felicity Jones as the daring Jyn Erso.
While science fiction is though of as the territory of men, this is simply not true. Women love “Star Wars,” just as they love Game of Thrones and other so-called male centric stories. However women remain mostly outnumbered behind the camera where a lot of the big decisions including story and shooting style are made. The franchise continues to announce new film projects directed by men. New films are in the pipeline from both Rian Johnson who directed “The Last Jedi” and “Game of Thrones”. In the streaming world, Lucasfilm has also tapped big names like Jon Favreau and Dan Filoni to shepherd “The Mandalorian” into the fray.
Kennedy has repeatedly said that “Star Wars” is eager to tap more diverse talent behind the camera, though the hiring of Victoria Mahoney was the first major sign of any progress. While Kennedy has taken some heat for the lack of female filmmakers, she is one of the few Hollywood heads that is actually trying to find female talent. Whether other major studios will follow her lead is anybody’s guess. It seems in one of America’s most prestigious jobs – directing a big budget film – still has a way to go when it comes to equal rights.
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