Star Wars: The Last Jedi is one of the most diverse Star Wars movie in the franchise’s history in front of the camera.
However, there has only ever been white male filmmakers in the director’s seat since George Lucas released the first one, A New Hope, in 1977. Irvin Kershner, Richard Marquand, Dave Filoni, J.J. Abrams and Gareth Edwards have all directed a Star Wars film with Rian Johnson joining the fold for The Last Jedi, but even he admits that it’s time for Disney to bring in some fresh blood.
“Hell yes it’s time!” Johnson said to Yahoo Movies UK at The Last Jedi press conference in London. “There are so many incredibly talented female directors, directors of colour out there and so many I would love to see play in this universe.
“Yes please, I would love it to happen.”
Of course, the decision isn’t up to Johnson who is incidentally getting to direct a whole Star Wars trilogy after J.J. Abrams’ Episode IX. And considering the other spin-offs are being directed by men (Ron Howard for Solo: A Star Wars Story) or rumoured to be directed by men (Stephen Daldry for the Obi-Wan Kenobi film and Simon Kinsberg for the Boba Fett movie) there doesn’t leave a lot of room for any women or people of colour to get a turn for the next few years.
This is an obvious shame as there are plenty of non-white male filmmakers out there who are more than capable of directing a Star Wars film. Katheryn Bigelow has been making critically-acclaimed, blockbuster movies – a lot of them centred on war too – for far longer than the likes of Johnson, Edwards and the original Solo movie directors Christopher Miller and Phil Lord but has never really been in the conversation to direct a Star Wars film.
Equally, Ryan Coogler, Ava DuVernay, Patty Jenkins, Jordan Peele, Justin Lin, Lexi Alexander, Dee Rees, Niki Caro, Gina Prince-Bythewood, Antoine Fuqua, F. Gary Gray, Catherine Hardwicke, Niki Caro and Susanne Bier are just a small number of great filmmakers who could step up to the Star Wars plate.
We’ll just have to wait and see if producer Kathleen Kennedy and Disney are willing to match the positive steps towards diversity on screen, behind-the-scenes too.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi is out in cinemas from December 14th