Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy says a 'Star Wars' film will 'absolutely' be directed by a female director soon

Tom Butler
Senior Editor
Producer and President of Lucasfilm Kathleen Kennedy and Daisy Ridley participate in the press conference for "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker", 2019. (Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)

Kathleen Kennedy has no doubt that a future Star Wars film will be directed by a female filmmaker.

Speaking to BBC News ahead of the Baftas last night, the President of Lucasfilm was asked whether the film franchise could get a female director soon, to which she definitively replied: “Oh absolutely, without question.”

Kennedy was at the awards show to receive a Bafta Fellowship, the highest accolade bestowed by the British Academy, presented to her by Bafta president Prince William and Star Wars actors Daisy Ridley and John Boyega at the end of the main event.

BBC reporter Colin Paterson put Kennedy on the spot ahead of the awards ceremony, asking the producer of all the recent Star Wars films, “When do you think we’ll get a female director of a Star Wars film?”

All of the eleven live action Star Wars films to date have been directed by men, but Kennedy explained the series was working with a number of female directors on the Disney+ spin-off shows.

Read more: When Kenobi is set

“We’ve already got [female directors],” Kennedy explained to Paterson.

“We’re doing Mandalorian, and we’ve got two or three fantastic women working with Star Wars, and we just brought in Deborah Chow, who’s doing the Obi-Wan [Kenobi] series. We’re cultivating a lot of great talent.”

HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 16: Director Deborah Chow attends the premiere of Disney's "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker" on December 16, 2019 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Ethan Miller/FilmMagic)

Chow directed ‘Chapter 3: The Sin’ and ‘Chapter 7: The Reckoning’ of the Disney+ series which stars Pedro Pascal, and was recently announced as the sole director of the upcoming Ewan McGregor series. Bryce Dallas Howard directed ‘Chapter 4: Sanctuary’ of The Mandalorian.

Kennedy has spoken in the past about her intention to hire a female filmmaker for Star Wars, teasing her plan for an internal incubation process at the studio.

“We want to make sure that when we bring a female director in to do Star Wars, they’re set up for success,” Kennedy told Variety in 2016. “They’re gigantic films, and you can’t come into them with essentially no experience.”

“We want to really start to focus in on people we would love to work with and see what kinds of things they’re doing to progress up that ladder now, and then pull them in when the time is right.”

Read more: Possible plots for Obi-Wan Kenobi on Disney+

Victoria Mahoney made Star Wars history with 2019’s The Rise of Skywalker. She was the film’s second unit director, making her the first black female filmmaker to direct any Star Wars.

HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 16: Filmmaker and actress Victoria Mahoney attends the premiere of Disney's "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker" on December 16, 2019 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Ethan Miller/FilmMagic)

Diversity was a hot topic at the Baftas due to a lack of non-white acting nominees and all-male directing category. The Duke of Cambridge addressed the issues around diversity before presenting Kathleen Kennedy with the Bafta Fellowship.

He praised the "exceptional film-making" that had been highlighted during the ceremony, and reflected on his 10 years as Bafta president, joking that he did not know if he should be "proud or slightly alarmed" at how many of the winners "have portrayed members of my own family".

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is in cinemas now.