Kathleen Kennedy Wants Taika Waititi for ‘Star Wars,’ Still Can’t Seem to Hire a Woman
The notion of Taika Waititi bringing his delightful sensibilities to another major franchise — or any form of media, really — is certainly attractive. After reinvigorating the Thor series with the outlandishly entertaining and colorful (in more ways than one) Ragnarok, Waititi likely has his pick of projects to take on next, though many fans of the filmmaker would probably rather see him deliver another original feature. But if Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy had it her way, Waititi would sign on to direct a Star Wars movie.
It’s not surprising that Kennedy is interested in signing Waititi to the galaxy far, far away; he delivered the goods (and then some) for Marvel, and he fulfills a very basic unspoken requirement: He’s a man. Speaking with Newshub, Kennedy praised Waititi’s “amazing” work on Ragnarok and she “would love” to wrangle him for a Star Wars movie. She also said that he has the “right sensibilities” for the Star Wars universe — though it seems unlikely that the wildly creative Waititi would marry himself to a studio that has fired so many directors for not submitting to their directives.
I'd be fired within a week.
— Taika Waititi (@TaikaWaititi) September 6, 2017
Waititi is certainly great, and while I’m definitely curious what his version of a Star Wars movie would be, even he concedes that he might not be the right fit for the Lucasfilm model of filmmaking. This is a studio that fired Phil Lord and Chris Miller for being too creative and improvising too much — and Waititi does a whole lot of improv.
More significantly: Not a single woman has been hired or even courted to direct a Star Wars movie, despite Kennedy’s seemingly condescending assurances that the studio will hire a woman when they find someone who’s “ready” to take on the responsibilities of the job.
And it’s not as if Lucasfilm isn’t a woman-friendly environment. The majority of the studio’s creative executives are women, which makes their ongoing refusal to hire a woman to direct a movie even more bizarre. So far, Lucasfilm has hired nine men to direct Star Wars movies and fired four of them:
- Josh Trank – Boba Fett spinoff (fired)
- J.J. Abrams – The Force Awakens and Episode IX
- Rian Johnson – The Last Jedi, developing new trilogy
- Colin Trevorrow – Episode IX (fired)
- Gareth Edwards – Rogue One
- Tony Gilroy – Rogue One (reshoots)
- Phil Lord and Chris Miller – Han Solo movie (fired)
- Ron Howard – Han Solo movie
So you’ll excuse me for criticizing Kathleen Kennedy for her interest in hiring Waititi despite his obvious, immense talents. Until she hires a woman to direct a Star Wars movie — or, hell, just have a conversation with one woman about it — I’m not going to be quiet about it. And it’s not that I’m singling Kennedy and Lucasfilm out: This is an ongoing problem at Disney, where it took 18 movies for Marvel to hire a woman to direct a superhero film, and the studio proper has only hired one woman to direct one of their 15 upcoming live-action remakes.
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