Star Wars Episode IX Has Hired A Female Director

Leia in The Last Jedi

The Star Wars franchise is currently going full throttle. With Disney now in charge of the beloved property, Lucasfilm is producing a ton of new and exciting content, greatly expanding the galaxy far, far away in the process. Both main installments and standalone films have been making tons of money and earned critical acclaim, but there is a point of contention within the beloved franchise. Namely, that they've all been directed by white men. There has been a call for more diversity both behind and in front of the camera, and now the franchise is doing just that. Director Victoria Mahoney has been hired as the second unit director for Episode IX.

This is a major moment Star Wars history, as Victoria Mahoney will be the first black director and the first female director to work on the franchise. The news came to us from acclaimed director Ava DuVernay, who dropped the bomb via her Twitter, saying:

Happy to share this historic news. A black woman directing stories in a galaxy far, far away. First unit director J.J. Abrams. Second unit director Victoria Mahoney.

It's official, there is now both a female and person of color voice contributing to Star Wars as a director, which has been a subject of conversation for the past few years. Ever since the #OscarsSoWhite controversy hit, there has been a new focus on having more inclusivity onscreen. While everyone at Lucasfilm has maintained that both female and POC directors would be hired eventually, this is a major step forward, making the idea a reality.

Interestingly enough, Ava DuVernay actually put Victoria Mahoney on Disney's radar. As Mahoney responded to DuVernay, saying:

Catt's outta the bag. Thank you Ava DuVernay for putting my name in the Star Wars / LucasFilm hat. Thank you J.J.Abrams for inviting me on your ferocious ride. *This one's for the outliers, dreaming big--in small corners of the Earth. #MaytheForceBeWithYou

Ava DuVernay's role in helping Victoria Mahoney get hired for Episode IX is particularly powerful, considering how many barriers that DuVernay has broken down herself. She first made history thought her her work on Selma, being the first black female director to be nominated for a Golden Globe Award, as well as the first black female director to have her movie nominated for a best picture Oscar. With A Wrinkle In Time she became the first African-American woman to direct a live-action film with a budget exceeding $100 million. Now DuVernay is paying it forward, and helping another black woman get her foot into the door-- in perhaps the biggest franchise of all time.

Episode IX will arrive in December of 2019. But first, Solo: A Star Wars Story will debut May 25, 2018. In the meantime, check out our 2018 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Graduated with degrees theater and literature from Ramapo College of New Jersey. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid. He's particularly proud of covering horror franchises like Scream and Halloween, as well as movie musicals like West Side Story. Favorite interviews include Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, Jamie Lee Curtis, and more.