Since its return to theatres with “The Force Awakens”, the “Star Wars” series of films has been lauded for its diverse casting, but behind the camera it’s another matter.
In a new article by Mashable, writer Angie Han says it’s high time that the producers of the valuable film franchise start hiring women and visible minorities in key writing and directing roles.
Han points to the statistics on the issue, written about by Variety, which show that out of 24 people in key creative positions involving writing or directing “Star Wars” films since 1977, only one has not been a white man – Leigh Brackett, a white woman who co-wrote “The Empire Strikes Back”.
Frustration grew with the announcement earlier this week that “Game of Thrones” show runners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss had been hired to create and oversee a brand new “Star Wars” film trilogy. It had previously been announced that “The Last Jedi” director Rian Johnson was also working on his own standalone trilogy.
“By continuing to hire only white men, Lucasfilm is not helplessly reflecting some unfortunate but unchangeable norm,” Han writes. “It’s making an active choice to reinforce a status quo that rewards white men while systematically shutting out anyone else.”
Actress Carey Mulligan was recently quoted as saying, “If [“Mudbound” director] Dee Rees was a white man she’d be directing the next ‘Star Wars’.”
There have also been rumours, written about by The Black List – an organization for filmmakers and writers – founder Franklin Leonard on Twitter, that “multiple women and people of colour” have already been hired to write and direct entries in the “Star Wars” franchise, but they have not yet been publicly announced.
Han adds that, “By refusing to let anyone but white men play in their sandbox, Lucasfilm is closing itself off to a wealth of new ideas that could keep this galaxy fresh and interesting, to people that might explore new corners that would otherwise go overlooked.”
Many on Twitter were quick to lodge complaints about the lack of women and people of colour among Lucasfilm’s writing and directing team after the latest trilogy announcement, calling on the company to do better: