The Star Wars franchise is moving in the right direction when it comes to on-screen diversity, but they still have a long way to go when it comes to behind the camera. Thus far it’s been a line of white men in charge of Star Wars, and every time they announce another white male director or showrunner fans wonder if there is ever going to be a change. It turns out that one of the men behind one of the new trilogies agrees. Rian Johnson said in an interview with the L.A. Times that they need some directors who aren’t white dudes.
“We need some directors who aren’t white dudes,” he said emphatically, in spite of Lucasfilm’s track record to date of hiring only white male directors. “And [Kennedy] knows it, too. It just has to happen. I mean, come on. It has to happen.”
Johnson went on to say that despite the fact that Star Wars doesn’t have any diversity behind the camera yet, he believes that Disney, Lucasfilm, and Kathleen Kennedy are doing a pretty good job when it comes to moving things forward.
“The thing is, I don’t feel that the powers that be are pushing back on new or unprecedented stuff,” said Johnson. “Quite the contrary. I feel like Disney and Lucasfilm and Kathy are actively looking for filmmakers and voices that are going to push it forward because they know that’s the only way it can stay alive. When people ask me, ‘Don’t you think people are going to get sick of ‘Star Wars’ movies?’ to me that question indicates that they’re thinking of ‘Star Wars’ movies as a museum exhibit that is wheeled out once a year so you can say, ‘Oh, I loved that thing. Oh, I remember that thing!’ And yes, if ‘Star Wars’ is that, people are going to get sick of it really quickly. But if ‘Star Wars’ are great new movies that are exciting and fresh, and that challenge you and surprise you and make you feel things and engage you the way that those original movies did — but always taking you to new places, both in the galaxy and emotionally — that’s never going to get old. That’s what it’s all about.”
However, all of this is talk with absolutely no action behind it thus far. Until Lucasfilm and Disney walk the walk, all of these words about inclusivity mean nothing. We can hope that since Johnson isn’t going to be directing his entire trilogy, he’ll put some people of color and women in charge — but those movies are years away. We shouldn’t have to wait that long to get a new point of view in Star Wars.