Disney has recently announced that Jon Favreau will be heading up their new Star Wars live action TV series. The show will come to Disney’s own as-yet-unnamed streaming service sometime after the service launches in 2019. As is to be expected, the internet had immediate issues with the announcement.
Firstly, Disney were criticised for making the announcement on International Women’s Day. Yes, Disney decided that they would put another straight white male in charge of developing more Star Wars products. This is after George Lucas, Irvin Kershner, Richard Marquand, J.J. Abrams, Rian Johnson, Dave Filoni, Gareth Edwards and most recently David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have all been responsible for transporting us to a galaxy far, far away. That’s a long list of white guys, and people are desperate to see what more diverse filmmakers might do with the franchise.
But fear not. Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy has said very clearly that “this series will allow Jon the chance to work with a diverse group of writers and directors and give Lucasfilm the opportunity to build a robust talent base.” So while the top job on this first ever Star Wars live action TV series has gone to Favreau, the boss of Lucasfilm is expecting there to be a progressive push for diversity amongst the writers and directors. The power of this should not be underestimated.
Running the show is a mammoth task and this won’t be a cheap undertaking. Disney are protecting their investment by working with Favreau. This is the guy who really launched the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Iron Man. He is a very safe pair of hands. He has been an executive producer on many TV series including Young Sheldon and The Orville. His directing credits include the upcoming remake of The Lion King, The Jungle Book remake and who can forget the Christmas classic Elf? He has already made Disney millions, if not billions.
Hopefully Favreau will be bringing Star Wars stories to life that have already existed in some form or another. Fans are still waiting for Disney-era Star Wars to tackle the Old Republic and The Wired have suggested the TV series might want to cover the early years of Boba Fett in a Star Wars 1313 unmade game adaptation that sounds perfect for TV.
So while I understand the desire for Disney to go for the guy they have already trusted with huge properties, the diversity issue is glaring in Star Wars. Kathleen Kennedy’s promise of diverse writers and directors must not be empty. My hope is that Lucasfilm are thinking long-term. This series can be a development opportunity. Directors and writers from a more diverse background can make their mark in the Star Wars world and their talents can be noted by Lucasfilm.
Remember, Star Wars isn’t going anywhere. And yes they’ve already had over 40 years to start getting people of other colours or genders to take the creative reigns. But, despite Favreau’s employment, this could still be the beginning of long overdue change. Relationships will be fostered. Talents will be nurtured. And skills will be proven. And finally, finally, I have no doubt that we will get diversity in Star Wars, and not just in front of the camera.
What do you think? Is Jon Favreau the right man for the job? Or is there someone else you’d like to oversee the first Star Wars live action TV series?