Kathleen Kennedy has the force: Star Wars president wants a female director

Kathleen Kennedy, the president of Lucasfilm, has announced that she wants to appoint a woman to direct a future Star Wars film and encourage more females into the entertainment industry.

Star Wars Darth VaderSpeaking to the Guardian at the Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit in Washington, Kennedy said, “There’s nothing we’d like more than to find a female director for Star Wars. There is an assumption made that people involved should predominantly be men. There are women who are ‘Star Wars’ fans. That’s what’s so insane.”

Lucasfilm are already going some way to please female fans and involve females in the franchise. While the plot of Star Wars: The Force Awakens has been a closely guarded secret, it has been revealed that British actress Daisy Ridley, will play a new female character, Rey. Kennedy revealed that the character will be “extremely significant” to the storyline, with many fans speculating that she will be the child of either Luke or Leia Skywalker.

As the spotlight is shone on the gender balance within Hollywood and the entertainment industry, Kennedy has called for more to be done to create an equal standing. Commenting on the issue, she said, “In a weird way, a few years ago there were more. The numbers never climb significantly but more women were running studios than there are today. It’s a lot to do with opportunity and there has to be a concerted effort to create the opportunity. Part of our job is to nurture talent. We need to not go to a filmmaker who’s done one movie and expect them to come in and do something the size of Star Wars without having an opportunity to find other movies they can do along the way.”

Kennedy revealed that six out of eight of the people involved in developing the new Star Wars film were women, and that 50% of her executive team were female. Continuing she said, “Having a balance of men and women in the room changes the story. The dialogue, the point of view.”

Kennedy herself had to fight for her place within the entertainment industry and has become one of the most powerful women within the business. She has produced of some of the most high-profile films, including Schindler’s List, Who Framed Roger Rabbit and more recently, Lincoln.

However, the wait for a female director could be a long one, with directors for the up and coming films in the franchise having already been decided. J.J. Abrams will direct ‘Episode VII’, Rian Johnson has been appointed for ‘Episode VIII’ and Colin Trevorrow will direct ‘Episode IX’. A number of directors for Star Wars spin-offs have already been decided, including Gareth Edwards for ‘Rogue One’, but Kennedy hopes they will be able to get a woman on board for future films.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be in cinemas on 18th December.

Alison Simpson
About the author

Alison is the Digital Content Editor for WeAreTheCity. She has a BA Honours degree in Journalism and History from the University of Portsmouth. She has previously worked in the marketing sector and in a copywriting role. Alison’s other passions and hobbies include writing, blogging and travelling.

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