‘Star Wars': Why Hiring a Female Director or Writer Could Be Far, Far Away

Lucasfilm recently met with seven female directors and writers about blockbuster franchise but there are no openings until after 2019 releases

Last Updated: December 3, 2015 @ 3:49 PM

At least seven female filmmakers have met with executives at Lucasfilm about working on future “Star Wars” movies, an individual familiar with the discussions told TheWrap.

But a woman directing the high-profile franchise can only happen in a galaxy far, far away since Disney has male directors lined up for its first five “Star Wars” movies, slated through 2019.

Nonetheless, WME partner Adriana Alberghetti set up meetings this fall for four female directors and three screenwriters with Lucasfilm executives, the insider said, inspired by a top-secret confab of leading industry figures in October to discuss gender disparity issues in Hollywood.

The meetings, which were first reported by the L.A. Times, occurred just after Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy complained at a Fortune media conference in mid-October that no women had expressed interest in writing or directing projects on the high-profile series.

In an explosive New York Times magazine story last month about sexism in show business, Kennedy said she had not received “one single phone call from a woman telling me that she really, really wants to direct a ‘Star Wars’ movie.” 

Reps for Lucasfilm and WME declined to comment, and the identities of the women who took meetings is not known.

But Alberghetti has some high-profile clients who would make sense on a “Star Wars” project — including S.J. Clarkson, director of Netflix/Marvel series “Jessica Jones,” and prolific writer/producer Marti Noxon (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer”).

There’s a lot of space travel booked before a female-helmed “Star Wars” project sees the light of day.

In addition to J.J. Abrams‘ “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” opening on Dec. 18, Disney is preparing “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” with Gareth Edwards, “Episode VIII” with Rian Johnson, an untitled Han Solo story with Phil Lord and Chris Miller, and “Episode IX” with “Jurassic World”‘s Colin Trevorrow.

The male-skewing lineup behind the camera continues an ongoing pattern for studio tentpoles. In the past two years, only 1.9 percent of the directors of the 100 top-grossing films were women, one of many depressing statistics that led to the October conference on gender parity.

It’s not just Kennedy who thinks the time is nigh for a female perspective. During a promo stop for “The Force Awakens” on Tuesday, director Abrams sparked complaints with comments about the franchise’s male-female audience divide.

“‘Star Wars’ was always a boys’ thing and a movie that dads could take their sons to, and though that’s still very much the case, I was really hoping this could be a movie that mothers could take their daughters to as well,” Abrams said. “I’m looking forward to kids seeing this movie and seeing themselves in it and seeing that they’re capable of doing things that they never imagined possible.”

Women’s pop culture blog The Muse plainly called Abrams’ comments “a very weird thing to say,” maintaining the franchise was and always will be for all audiences. They also took issue with quotes from George Lucas in a CBS News interview in which he said the nearly 40-year-old franchise was “about generations, and issues of fathers and sons and grandfathers. It’s a family soap opera.”

Despite claims to the contrary, The Muse said women “refuse” to let culture make “Star Wars” an all-boy phenomenon. Getting a woman behind the camera would be a start.

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