There's a Catch-22 at play in the field of tentpole blockbusters these days. Female filmmakers who want a shot at helming a massive chapter of the Marvel, DC or Star Wars universes are often being told that they need to get more experience before taking over the reins of a massive movie. And yet, they can't get the experience unless someone gives them a shot. LucasFilm chief Kathleen Kennedy made waves recently when she said so much regarding the possibility of handing a Star Wars movie to a female director, but today, she offered clarification.
Team Star Wars currently is in San Francisco for a massive press event promoting Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and during a press conference (where CinemaBlend was in attendance), Kennedy was asked to elaborate on her comments to Variety that they want to make sure any female filmmaker they bring into the Star Wars fold will be "set up for success" because "you can't come into them with essentially no experience." Kennedy's words were misinterpreted by multiple movie sites as saying Star Wars will never hire a female director because they can't GET experience, though Kennedy was adamant that she knows there are plenty of very talented female directors in the industry, and she has met with all of them. She told us:
This gentleman [Gareth Edwards] did Godzilla before we hired him to direct the movie. And that quote was taken out of context. And I, as you can imagine, have every intention of giving somebody an opportunity. So, if somebody actually moves through the process of making movies and wants to make a Star Wars movie, and shows that they have actually stepped into the role on that level, of course we are going to consider a woman. That goes without saying.
I never doubted for one second that Star Wars -- and Kathleen Kennedy, specifically -- would close their collective minds or shut a potential door on a future storyteller just because of their gender. With any film, be it an indie or a blockbuster, the best storyteller is the one who should be hired fir the job. Does that always happen? Of course not, but now franchise -- or, no franchise that WANTS to succeed -- is going to shoot down the potential of any candidate sight unseen because of his or her gender.
The major studios are making some progress with the hiring of female filmmakers for their blockbusters. Patty Jenkins helmed Wonder Woman, the next saga in the ongoing DC Extended Universe. Marvel is looking for a female director for Captain Marvel, which will star Brie Larson. Hiring a female director for a future Star Wars movie seems like the next logical step.
But which Star Wars film? The only film on the radar at LucasFilm that doesn't have a director is the Boba Fett movie, which hasn't made much progress. An Obi-wan trilogy has been discussed, and the company's plans following Episode IX are wide open. It's an ideal time for a female storyteller with a bold idea to step forward, make a pitch, and be given an opportunity to develop their own chapter of this expanding universe. Do you agree?