Are we going to be getting our first female Star Wars director?
Despite the presence of powerful female characters such as Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher), Padme Amidala (Natalie Portman) and now The Force Awakens headliner Rey (Daisy Ridley), the writers and directors on all the Star Wars films – both past and future – have been a veritable boys club. Fisher is known to have done uncredited polish work on the Phantom Menace script, yet the lone credited female screenwriter who worked on one, The Empire Strikes Back‘s Leigh Brackett, died after completing a first draft, which was discarded. All that may change soon, however, as Los Angeles Times reports that after a two-day summit held by Women in Film and the Sundance Institute to address the gender gap in Hollywood, Adriana Alberghetti (an agent and partner at power agency William Morris Endeavor) managed to procure meetings for four female directors and three female writers with an eye towards upcoming Star Wars movies.
While none off the women are named in the piece, Alberghetti represents such high profile directors as Sarah Gavron (Suffragette) and S.J. Clarkson (“Jessica Jones”) as well as prolific screenwriters like Linda Woolverton (Maleficent) and Marti Noxon (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer”). While Lucasfilm has several women in key positions, including Director of Creative Content Strategy Carrie Beck, Senior Vice President of Development Kiri Hart (whom many have called the company’s own Kevin Feige-like creative mastermind) and, of course, company President Kathleen Kennedy, the list of those selected to take on their now-annual output from the galaxy far far away has consisted of J.J. Abrams, Gareth Edwards, Rian Johnson, Colin Trevorrow and the team of Phil Lord & Chris Miller.
Prior to a recent Fortune women’s conference, Kennedy stated, “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.’”
Unfortunately, because the gigs are already filled, you can’t expect to see any women behind the camera on a Star Wars movie until after 2019. From their initial announced slate of six movies (which include three spin-offs and three “saga” movies forming a “Phase One” of sorts) only the proposed Boba Fett solo anthology film (which an embattled Josh Trank departed in May) has yet to find a new helmer, although the screenplay was already begun by Simon Kinberg.
It’s possible that, given the break in development on that project, another may take its place featuring long-rumored solo stories from Frank Oz’s Yoda or Ewan McGregor’s Obi-Wan Kenobi. Recent breakthroughs have been made at studios, including the hiring of Patty Jenkins to tackle Warner Bros.’ 2017 tentpole Wonder Woman and Black List scribe Stephany Folsom to rewrite Marvel’s Thor: Ragnarok, but seeing as how the Star Wars franchise has become the gold standard in Hollywood, having a woman behind the camera or even on the title page of a Final Draft file would be a great step towards breaking the glass ceiling.