Two of the defining narratives in contemporary filmmaking are diversity in the film industry and, well Star Wars. With Star Wars: The Force Awakens readying a theatrical debut, the marketing machine is in full overdrive. So has continuing conversations and frustrations about wage disparity between men and women in the industry and the lack of diversity behind and in front of the camera. Possibly, the Star Wars cinematic universe may be attempting to change that if recent reports are any indication.
It’s true that so far the upcoming Star Wars projects are pretty much a sausage fest even with Kathleen Kennedy, one of the most powerful and successful of American producers, in charge of Lucasfilm. The Force Awakens was directed by J.J. Abrams (Super 8) while Rian Johnson (Looper) is spearheading Episode VIII and Colin Trevorrow (Jurassic World) was selected for Episode IX. Furthermore, Gareth Edwards (Godzilla) is directing the spin-off Rogue One and the 21 Jump Street duo of Phil Lord and Christopher Miller will helm a standalone Hans Solo prequel. Additionally, none of these films feature a female writing credit either.
Yet a recent two-day summit held in Los Angeles by Women in Film and the Sundance Institute may have opened the door slightly for that to change in the future. Considering Disney is hoping to mint Star Wars films once a year for who even knows how long, that can only be seen as good news. Reportedly, four female directors and three female screenwriters were able to land meetings revolving around future Star Wars installments out of the summit which sought to put Hollywood leaders and dealers in a room for a holds-no-barred discussion of the gender equality in the film industry. William Morris Agency agent and partner Adriana Alberghetti was able to procure the meetings in the first place.
While no names have been revealed, some of Alberghetti’s clients include Suffragette director Sarah Gavron, S.J. Clarkson (Jessica Jones), screenwriter Linda Woolverton (Maleficent) and television vet Marti Noxon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, UnREAL). Kennedy herself has chimed in on the subject stating, “Until I waved the flag at the Fortune women’s conference recently, I had not had one single phone call from a woman telling me that she really, really wants to direct a Star Wars movie. They need to be the ones picking up the phone and saying, ‘Hey, let me tell you what Star Wars means to me and how much I could do with it.’” On the same token, The Force Awakens does feature perhaps the most diverse ensemble cast of the entire franchise with newcomers John Boyega (Attack the Block) and Daisy Ridley both to sport prominent roles.
The next phase in the story will hopefully include an announcement of a female director officially attached to a Star Wars films. We will stay tuned to the latest.