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Rian Johnson says ‘hell yes’ to more directing diversity in Star Wars universe

Contributed by
Dec 14, 2017

With eight mainline films, as well as a galaxy full of forthcoming standalone features and TV projects, the Star Wars universe is expanding faster — and bigger — than ever before. And with tons more new content headed our way for years to come, the opportunities are ripe for new faces to leave their creative mark.

Does that mean it’s only a matter of time before we’ll see a feature film helmed by the franchise’s first-ever person of color and/or female?

The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson doesn’t call those kinds of shots. He just makes movies — pretty great ones, as it turns out. But if he had his way, then hell, yeah: there’d definitely be a lot more diversity at the head of any number of future Star Wars projects.

Speaking to Yahoo Movies UK at the London press conference for The Last Jedi’s release, Johnson offered up his emphatic endorsement for diversifying the franchise’s creative leadership from the top down.

“Hell yes, it’s time!” Johnson said. “There are so many incredibly talented female directors, directors of color out there, and so many I would love to see play in this universe. ... Yes please, I would love it to happen.”

Since the George Lucas-directed A New Hope launched the Star Wars juggernaut in 1977, films in the series have been directed by a succession of males including Irvin Kershner, Richard Marquand, J.J. Abrams, Rian Johnson, Dave Filoni, Gareth Edwards, and Ron Howard.

It may be a while, too, before a more diverse set of names finds its way to the top of the Star Wars directorial honor roll. Johnson’s signed on for the ninth film in the Skywalker saga, and many of the names that continue to be bandied for other announced projects belong — you guessed it — to males.

The Star Wars franchise already is led from the very top by Kathleen Kennedy, whom Disney tapped in 2012 after it acquired the rights from Lucasfilm. With potentially dozens of new projects all but guaranteed to show up on screens both big and small, we'll have to wait and see how large a role diversity will play in her future directorial hiring calls.

Maybe now’s a good time for her to seek out Rian Johnson for a little friendly advice?