It’s no secret that Hollywood has an on-going issue with representation. Whether you are talking on- or off-screen, there’s been a consistent and documented failure to normalize diverse, female talent within the industry. For instance, less than 12% of box office blockbusters have been directed by women, and fans have been anxious to see that percentage trend upwards. However, many of those fans were gobsmacked after they heard Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy allegedly brush over possible female directors for upcoming Star Wars flicks.
But, don’t fret yet; According to Kennedy, the quote of hers was simply taken way out of context.
At a junket for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, ComicBook.com’s Lucas Seigel had a chance to hear Kennedy’s side of the story about the debacle. Here's what she had to say in her defense: “It’s not true” that they hire male directors who are unproven. This man [indicating Gareth Edwards] did Godzilla before we hired him for this movie. “That quote [about female directors] was taken out of context. I have, as you can imagine, every intention of giving somebody an opportunity. If [a female director] moves through the process of making movies and wants to make a Star Wars movie, and shows that they’ve stepped into the role on that level, of course we’re going to consider them. That goes without saying.”
“I think there are many [female directors with potential]," she continued. "And I’ve talked to most of them. There are many out there.”
If you are not familiar with the controversy that Kennedy found herself embroiled in, the ordeal dates back to a recent interview she did with Variety. It was there that the president stressed Lucasfilm is prioritizing its female talent acquisition, but they want to do with smartly.
"We want to make sure that when we bring a female director to do Star Wars, they're set up for success. They're gigantic films, and you can't come into them with essentially no experience," Kennedy explained. "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.”
Many read the comments and took slight with them. Fans felt that Kennedy’s words insinuated that there was a lack of qualified, experienced female directors in Hollywood. The issue quickly gained steam online and turned itself into catchy headlines which started fan-wars between longtime Star Wars lovers. But, now, those fans can rest assured knowing that Kennedy’s quote was simply misinterpreted.
Of course, Kennedy’s quote on female directors is not the only one that has put her in hot water lately. During a New York Times interview, the president riled up readers when she stressed she felt no responsibility to cater to male fans.
"I have a responsibility to the company that I work with. I don't feel that I have a responsibility to cater in some way [to those particular fans]," Kennedy said, referring to the backlash against Lucasfilm’s recent female leads. "I would never just seize on saying, 'Well, this is a franchise that's appealed primarily to men for many, many years, and therefore I owe men something.'"
So, what do you think? Are you glad to hear Kennedy standing up for her opinion and clarifying its terms? Do you have any go-to female directors that you’d like to see join the Star Wars universe? Let us know in the comments below!
Kathleen Kennedy says her quote on female directors was taken out of context. “There are many w/ potential, & I’ve talked to most of them."— Lucas Siegel (@LucasSiegel) December 4, 2016
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story hits US theaters December 16, 2016. Directed by Gareth Edwards, it's the first of the new standalone features from Lucasfilm and Disney, which take place outside the core "Skywalker Saga" of films noted by an Episode number. Rogue One tells the story of the small band of rebels that were tasked with stealing the plans to the first Death Star. The story spins directly off the opening crawl from the original Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope. In that crawl, it read: "Rebel spaceships, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil Galactic Empire. During the battle, Rebel spies managed to steal secret plans to the Empire’s ultimate weapon, the DEATH STAR, an armored space station with enough power to destroy an entire planet."
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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story hits theaters December 16, 2016.