Margot Robbie-led Barbie ended 2023 as the highest-grossing film of the year with a box office collection exceeding $1.4 billion globally.
The comedy, which was directed by Greta Gerwig, earned plenty of plaudits for expertly touching on ideas of self-acceptance and patriarchy through different characters (the majority being female) in Barbie Land. The female-centric film dominated the Golden Globe Awards nominations with nine nods.
Its financial and critical success is bound to accelerate Hollywood’s efforts to diversify film sets and give more backing to female-led stories. In that regard, Star Wars has taken several steps in the right direction.
Read more: “Do not bring out a Black character… and…”: John Boyega’s Sharp Comments for Disney after Star Wars Butchered His Character
How Daisy Ridley’s Star Wars Is Following the Footsteps of Margot Robbie’s Barbie
The epic space opera media franchise has seen many women take important positions and influence its success over the decades. From editor Marcia Lucas to screenwriters Gloria Katz and Leigh Brackett, all have played a big role in making Star Wars what it is today.
Now, Lucasfilm, which is currently led by Kathleen Kennedy, has taken a historic decision by roping in Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy to direct an untitled Star Wars project starring Daisy Ridley.
Chinoy is the first woman, and the first person of color, to direct a Star Wars film. Speaking to CNN, the Pakistan-born, Canadian filmmaker admitted she’s thrilled about the opportunity.
“I feel what we’re about to create is something very special,” she said. “We’re in 2024 now, and it’s about time that we had a woman come forward to shape a story in a galaxy far, far away.”
Akin to Margot Robbie, there’d be a huge pressure on Ridley as the lead of such a high-profile project. However, after embracing the Skywalker identity in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker in 2019 as Rey, there’s no doubt both the actress and her character will be ready to take center stage in a galaxy far, far away.
The upcoming tale will pick up 15 years after the events of The Rise of Skywalker. By this period, Rey will be a fully-fledged Jedi Master.
Read more: “Look how Ms. Marvel turned out”: Star Wars Director Gets Blasted for Wanting Franchise to be Led by Rey Skywalker After Sequel Trilogy Failure
New Study Highlights Female Filmmakers Are Still Not Getting Enough Opportunities in Hollywood
According to a new report by USC Annenberg’s Inclusion Initiative, female directors are still not getting the same opportunities in Hollywood as their male counterparts.
Despite Lucasfilm’s historic decision and the recent success of Barbie (the highest-grossing woman-directed film of all-time) and Elizabeth Banks’ Cocaine Bear, the report has called Hollywood’s pledges to support inclusion “performative acts” and “not real steps towards fostering change.”
The USC report (via Variety) found that a total of 116 directors were attached to the 100 top-grossing domestic films in 2023, but just 14 of them (12%) were women. In comparison, in 2022, 9% of top-grossing films were directed by women. A slight improvement but not enough considering the impressive number of talented women filmmakers attached to low-budget and independent films.
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