‘Star Wars’ Wants Female Directors for the Franchise, Says Kathleen Kennedy

Star Wars Wants Female Directors for
Nils Jorgensen/REX Shutterstock

Kathleen Kennedy, the president of Lucasfilm, hopes to appoint a female director to a “Star Wars” film in the future.

Kennedy made an appearance at the Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit in Washington, and discussed the possibility of a female helmer with The Guardian.

“There’s nothing we’d like more than to find a female director for ‘Star Wars’,” she said. “There is an assumption made that the people involved should predominantly be men. There are women who are ‘Star Wars’ fans. That’s what’s so insane.”

While the directors for the next installments to the main saga have already been found — J.J. Abrams for “Episode VII,” Rian Johnson for “Episode VIII” and Colin Trevorrow for “Episode IX” — Kennedy would love to find the right female director for one of the “Star Wars” spin-off films. “Rogue One” is being helmed by Gareth Edwards, while an upcoming Han Solo origin film will be directed by Christopher Miller and Phil Lord. Josh Trank was set to direct an untitled “Star Wars” standalone film before exiting the project in June.

Kennedy also hit on the declining number of women in positions of power in Hollywood.

“In a weird way, a few years ago there were more,” Kennedy noted. “The numbers never climb significantly but more women were running studios than there are today.”

The Lucasfilm President said that while there were “complicated” reasons for the lack of female execs and content creators, there needs to be more focus on nurturing talent.

“It’s a lot to do with opportunity and there has to be a concerted effort to create the opportunity,” Kennedy said. “We need to not go to a filmmaker who’s done one movie and expect them to come in and do something the size of ‘Star Wars’ without having an opportunity to find other movies they can do along the way.”

Although the plot of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” has remained a closely-guarded secret, Kennedy did reveal that new female character Rey, played by Daisy Ridley, is “extremely significant” to the story.

Rey’s place in the movie has already been the point of much speculation with many believing her to be the child of either Luke or Leia Skywalker — or at the very least a force-sensitive person.

Kennedy also revealed that six out of eight of the people involved in developing the film were women and that 50% of her executive team is female.

“Having a balance of men and women in the room changes the story,” she said. “The dialogue, the point of view.”

“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” hits theaters on Dec. 18.

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  1. Tina says:

    I think many points above,which are said by K.Kennedy. aren´t shining in the right light of movie genre. I ´m a fan of female lead characters in movie, which already proved in the last years, like Jen Lawrence in Tributes of Panem, Brie Larson, who got, by the way, this year the Oscar as best Actress, or Alicia Vikander, who will make a great performance in the new Tomb Raider movie. This movies are great and they are successful. (And I`AM a woman, so I be very critical with stuff like that :) ). All the movies has had male directors. Why? If it come to a good/great movie it doesn´t come to a gender question for directing, and depends on experience/innovation/visionary and identification with the project.
    On the other side you have Star Wars VII, with Daisy Ridley, which was THE Blockbuster if you only see the box-office results, but the story/development/innovation/characters already got lost. And yes it was a male director (Jar Jar Abrams) too, who took responsibilty for the movie. Most of the fans are disappointed of the movie, because they think about another development; something new after part VI, something great and special.But nothing happen. In the end you can see a movie, which is only a mix between SW IV till VI. No more. So it doesn´t depend on gender for directing a movie. But that is the point, which K.Kennedy lose sight of; to put/force a FEMALE director, who maybe doesn´t have the heart on the right side or who can directing movies from other genres in a more than perfect way, but for SciFi she hasn´t a knack for. And for what reason? Only that you can see in the credits in the end: directing by Miss …. ….? Sorry but that is the wrong way, like already proved in Star Wars VII, what was a confession of failure from J J Abrams/Disney, both of them take responsibilty for that. Already see today (six month later) from many fans on some websites that they are disappointed from the movie. I think that this is a good result for female bad acting (Daisy Ridley, who exaggerated nearly every scene in the movie and make only a wooden acting when it comes to emotional scenes). The director/writer overdoing the leading part too. In the past, or let me say in the movies only some years ago like Prometheus with Noomi Rapace and Michael Fassbender, it was a well-adjusted relationship between the charaters. In Star Wars VII I don´t know why the two other supernumeries (Fynn and Poe) already exist in the movie, because the “Rey” character could do anything by her own: manage the force and light saber fight without training, is a great mechanic and pilot, and beat up the bad guy in the first movie of the triology, so what could we expect from the next two movies of the Triology? THAT is the proof of overdoing and overload a character sketch of a actress. And that is the reason that so many fans are disappointed too. Sure Hollywood will get a new generation of people. Yes, people not only women. But in the end I would prefer to see the Star Wars movie, I think, with i.e. a Hayden Christensen or Zac Efron or Tom Holland MORE than as with Daisy Ridley.

  2. A Shadow In Our Midst says:

    I think people are not taking actual REALITY into context and are speaking a vacuum. Holiday is NEVER about the absolute best anything for anything. Do they take in consideration talent and experience? Of course. Both of these things negate risk.

    But the fact is its harder for any minority to even be considered because of tradition and connections. Most jobs in Hollywood are gotten because of who you know, not necessarily because you are the absolute best at the job.

    That just is not reality. The reason why people have to make a concerted effort to hire minorities, is because in the CURRENT system in place, it is especially easy to ignore them They are not the norm. People are biased whether they realize or not, until action is taken to break down bias, nothing will change.

  3. keithmoore1 says:

    All of you pointing out the choice needs to be based on merit and not gender are absolutely right…unless the short list turns up, say, a dozen white males who went to prestigious film schools. Then the choice gets a little more complicated. Were women properly considered for the job?

    Colin Treverrow didn’t direct anything close to Jurassic World when he got that gig.

  4. katniss everdeen! :Dx says:

    People should be chosen for their talent & abilities. Not for their gender. And I say that as a girl. I mean, how heartbreaking would it be is guy who worked so hard his whole life to become the best of the best in action-directing lost on on a project to someone just because of gender? THINK ABOUT THAT, FEMINISTS! YOU DON’T TREAT OTHER HUMANS LIKE THAT!!!! That’s all I have to say.

  5. Hollywood is Dead says:

    I’m going to barf when Disney will ask for a black director and a gay director (if there is one) just for the heck of it. Not trying to sound rude or racist, but filmmaking talent should be above the type of person. Politicizing everything is wrong and very annoying.

  6. CapitalP says:

    Give it to Kathryn Bigelow, she can do action better than most men. But she does it with emotion.

  7. Iván el Terrible says:

    If someone is chosen to direct a movie, it’s because of abilities. not because of gender.

  8. BillUSA says:

    Now why would Kennedy want female directors? Could it be because they’ll be the better choice, or simply because they are female? It can’t be both.

  9. Edward says:

    Do you see Spielberg, Tarantino or Nolan direct a live-action version of “Barbie”? In all likelihood their movie version would be mediocre at best. Why? Access.

    Gender triggers certain inclinations, preferences, or matter-of-factly: abilities.

    This “female empowerment” will force a woman into directing stuff that’s not playing to her strength, hence massively harming this whole movement. DuVerney dodged that bullett. Not every female director will be so lucky.

  10. How about just looking for a GOOD director – who cares if they have a penis or a vagina?

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