In an interview with Fortune, Lucasfilm‘s president Kathleen Kennedy said she was, “confident we will eventually hire a woman who directs a Stars Wars movie.” This was said in conjunction with her statement that the majority of the people in the current Story Group, the division of Lucasfilm that determines all the things canon in the Star Wars universe, are primarily women.
“Fifty percent of our executive team are women. Six out of eight of the people in my Story Group are women. I think it’s making a huge difference in the kind of stories we’re trying to tell.”
We already know that Daisy Ridley is one of the leading characters in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and all promotional images point to Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything) as leading the crew of the Rogue One film, not mention the incredibly gender balanced cast of Disney XD’s animated series Star Wars Rebels; the female influence within the Star Wars universe is definitely apparent. So why no female directors yet?
“It is interesting because I have a huge number of men who call me constantly and tell me how much of a Star Wars fan they are and how much they want to get involved in anything to do with Star Wars,” says Kennedy. “I don’t have a lot of women who call and have those conversations with me.”
The reason for that could very well be that all of the current Star Wars directors (J.J. Abrams, Rian Johnson, Phil Lord, Chris Miller, Colin Trevorrow, and Gareth Edwards) had prior experience directing films with budgets of greater than $30 million, something most female directors have never had the chance to do. And unfortunately, without a previous film to showcase what she can do with a blockbuster budget, it’s unlikely any female filmmaker is going to be able to make a strong case for being able to handle directing anything as epic as Star Wars.
Still, Kennedy insists that Lucasfilm will hire a female director one day – it’s just about finding the right one.
“It is going to happen. We are going to hire a woman who’s going to direct a Star Wars movie. I have no doubt. On the other hand, I want to make sure we put someone in that position who’s set up for success. It’s not just a token job to look out and try to find a woman that we could put into a position of directing Star Wars… If we do want to bring a woman in to direct a Star Wars movie, we want to make sure that it’s somebody who’s passionate and really, really wants to do a Star Wars movie. We don’t want to talk somebody into it.”
Considering that Disney, who bought Lucasfilm in 2012, is one a handful companies focussed on fostering the growth of its female executives, it’s almost certain that Kennedy will make good on her claim. I just hope the people at Lucasfilm will be able to look at the lower-budget past work of a talented female director and see that she is the right woman for the job – and that that will happen soon!