J.J. Abrams has revealed that Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy is “actively working” to hire female Star Wars writers and directors for the expanding cinematic universe.
The “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” co-writer and director made this admission to me on Friday over the phone when I spoke to him about being the 2018 recipient of the Leading Man Award from the Athena Film Festival, the New York event that celebrates women’s leadership.
During our discussion J.J. Abrams talked about his own efforts and his production company Bad Robot’s work to incorporate more female voices into the cinematic landscape. At this point I then asked Abrams about the continuing backlash to the lack of female writers and directors in the “Star Wars” universe.
“I know that Kathy Kennedy is deeply aware of and actively working to do the right thing in this regard,” responded Abrams. “There’s no question that ‘Star Wars’ will benefit from the women writers and directors that will inevitably be telling those stories, too.”
“And I cannot wait to see and I just know that the stories that will be told in that universe from a more diverse set of writers and directors will be thrilling and the best chapters in that story. I know that is something that Kathy is actively working on.”
While we wait for further updates on the female writers and directors that Kennedy has been courting and discussing future “Star Wars” projects with, we have the small matter of “Star Wars: Episode 9” to deal with.
But with “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” still in cinemas, and with its follow-up at least 2 years away from release, Abrams was obviously reticent to say too much about it.
“I can’t wait for you to see what we are doing with ‘9’,” Abrams insisted, before adding. “It is probably a little too early to talk about the specifics of ‘9’, but I will say I feel like where we are with these characters is something that feels right and thrilling.”
Abrams also felt the same way about discussing Quentin Tarantino’s potential “Star Trek” film, which he will reportedly be producing, other than to say that he thinks it is “incredible” that the Oscar winner might be entering that universe.
“I knew Quentin from a million years ago. And he was interested in this world, and I can’t really say too much more about it, other than I was amazed at how much of a fan of the universe he is. Then I was as shocked as anyone to read about those stories, and his interest in that is something that is kind of incredible to see.”
There will be more from my discussion with J.J. Abrams, including a more detailed response to winning the Leading Man Award from the Athena Film Festival, and his explanation on how Hollywood can progress, at the start of next week.