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SYFY WIRE Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker

Star Wars' Victoria Mahoney reveals how she became the series' first female director

By Andrea Ayres
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Victoria Mahoney made history by becoming the first female director in the Star Wars franchise by serving as the second unit director for The Rise of Skywalker. In a guest column featured in The Hollywood Reporter, Mahoney revealed how she snagged the coveted role.

Mahoney recalls the wintery November evening in 2017 when director J.J. Abrams reached out to her over email asking if they could talk. Of course, Mahoney figured he wanted to chat about something small, certainly not joining him to helm the second-unit direction of Star Wars!

The next day, Mahoney writes, "On the phone, J.J. mentions Star Wars, something, something second unit director, something, something, would you like to come in and have a chat with me? I only caught every other word because my head imploded after he said Star Wars."

Mahoney has been a fan of Star Wars from a young age; she says she often had to hide her awe and kept her "geekdom close to the chest." What she describes in her column is an absolute whirlwind from beginning to end, and it was all made possible by the acclaimed director Ava DuVernay (The New Gods).

According to Mahoney, DuVernay said, "I happen to have a great list [of directors], J.J., but I'm not giving it to you. I'm giving you one name and one name only: Victoria Mahoney."

Victoria Mahoney has been working in film since 1991, but this is her first experience as a director on such a huge franchise. The fan turned director summed it up best when she wrote: "Star Wars has and always will inspire hope."

We couldn't agree more.

Be sure to head over to The Hollywood Reporter for some great photos of Mahoney behind the scenes along with a great story about working on set alongside J.J. Abrams and crew.