Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past couple years, you’re likely aware that Disney purchased Lucasfilm for a pretty penny, and subsequently decided to milk the Star Wars franchise for all it could possibly be worth. Last year saw the release of J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: The Force Awakens and this Christmas we are getting a spinoff of the original trilogy, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, directed by Gareth Edwards. After that, there will be plenty more to chew on as we’re expected to get about one film a year—feel bloated yet?
Even though the Star Wars films have been a shining example of diversity through their casting, they have been lacking a female vision, as every film has been directed by a man. Whether it’s the original trilogy, the prequels, or the already slated future films, there’s not a single female director on the roster. Kathleen Kennedy, producer of the Star Wars films (and of many great pictures from our youth), recently confirmed to Variety that they’ve been looking for a female voice, and told them “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.”
While that sounds nice and all, men don’t seem to have to go through the same vetting process. The directors helming Star Wars films in the years to come are a perfect example of this. Colin Trevorrow went from the fantastic indie comedy Safety Not Guaranteed straight to Jurassic World. Gareth Edwards made Monsters for a ridiculously low budget and then he moved right on to Godzilla. Rian Johnson has made indie films for a decade (albeit great indie films) and is now set to direct The Force Awakens’ sequel. Sure looks like male directors can go from a $500,000 indie flick to directing the biggest films on the planet, right?
So why not women? Well, there’s always been gender inequality in Hollywood, but in recent years female directors such as Sam Taylor Johnson, who directed 50 Shades of Gray, proved they could also break the bank. Kathryn Bigelow, who’s been around for decades, can easily direct better films than most men. Unfortunately, it seems to come down to this: Hollywood doesn’t trust women directors as much. Whereas Zack Snyder can keep failing, a director like Karyn Kusama will be stuck in director purgatory for years after one of her films tanks, though hopefully the wonderful The Invitation will put her back on track.
It’s not all bleak, however, because a change is coming, and television is leading the revolution. Melissa Rosenberg, showrunner of Netflix’s Jessica Jones, recently announced that all 13 episodes of the second season would be directed by women. This just goes to show it can be done, and if Marvel—whose parent company is also Disney—can do it on the small screen, then there’s no reason not to give it a go on the silver one. Here’s to hoping the trend changes in the coming years.