The new breakthrough offers a glimpse of the upcoming "Star Wars: The Last Jedi & # 39;

Something is still missing in the halls of Lucasfilm.

While women have moved admirably to the forefront of the last batch of Star Wars tales, from King (Daisy Ridley) to Jyn (Felicity Jones), there is a seat that the franchise still can not understand. woman in: the director's chair.

The president of Lucasfilm, Kathleen Kennedy, has repeatedly stated that she has "all the intention" to make it happen. "And she has not done it," says Melissa Silverstein, founder of the website Women and Hollywood, which advocates parity in the entertainment industry. "There are very few women who have the opportunity to make a change instantly, and she is one of them"

Lucasfilm has not responded to the request for comments from USA TODAY.

When will that moment come? Some who work in Kennedy's orbit defend the timeline. "The brilliant Kathy Kennedy has been very open about her search for a director, but she will never hire someone for an element, a single thing," says Gwendoline Christie, who plays Captain Phasma in the saga. "She's looking for the right people for the right projects at the right time."

Rian Johnson, with Carrie Fisher in the set of & # 39; The Last Jedi & # 39; I had not directed a big-budget movie "Star Wars" (Photo: David James / Lucasfilm)

Candidates need experience with bigger budgets for work, Kennedy said. But with fewer women hired even for mid-level films, the list of women who fit the criteria is reduced to a small group. And it's worth noting that when studios seek new voices to run their franchises, directors often completely bypass that rule.

It is true, Rian Johnson, who directs the next Star Wars: The Last Jedi (in theaters December 15), was able to prove his worth with Looper of 2012, a science fiction movie filmed for $ 30 million, having risen in the industry directing episodes of TV Breaking Bad .

More: 10 Important Milestones for Women Behind the Camera in Hollywood

But Gareth Edwards made his $ 500,000 Monsters before being delivered Godzilla (which had a budget of $ 160 million), a film that prepared him for Rogue One last year . Colin Trevorrow jumped from his low budget hit Sundance Safety Not Guaranteed to the massive Jurassic World before being hired to direct Star Wars: Episode IX (although Lucasfilm leave it outside the project in September for creative differences).

The problem, says Silverstein, is that "women are judged by their experience and men are judged by their potential."

Meanwhile, there are still many women with bumps on their belts that deserve an opportunity. Take Ava DuVernay, who completes A Wrinkle in Tim e for Disney, which has a budget of over $ 100 million. Or Angela Robinson, who has just directed the story of the origin of the superhero, praised by critics Professor Marston and the Wonder Women .

King (Daisy Ridley) and Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) meet in 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi. & # 39; (Photo: Jonathan Olley / Disney)

Then there's Patty Jenkins, who got $ 821.8 million with the real Wonder Woman, Warner Bros. & # 39; the most successful DC Universe movie to date. Or Michelle MacLaren, who has directed all the television shows that love critics, from Game of Thrones to The Walking Dead to Breaking Bad .

"We just need that many, many more people have opportunities for people to try and solve things as they go," says Ridley. "And in the world of Star Wars we now have a beautiful, rich and diverse universe and being headed by a woman would be the next step." It would be great. "

Kathleen Kennedy has said she is looking for a woman to direct a film of & # 39; Star Wars & # 39; (Photo: Neilson Barnard / Getty Images for Elle)

Gurinder Chadha, who directed the worldwide hit Bend It Like Beckham said at a London Women and Hollywood event that is still difficult to finance his films, as a woman of color, despite his success story.

"I was very depressed, why am I the only Asian director in Britain who has to talk about diversity?" He said. "So I sent Kathleen Kennedy an email and I said: & # 39; Why can not I direct a movie from Star Wars ? & # 39; The two took an extended meeting later, which Gurinder described as supportive.

Kelly Marie Tran, who plays the new character Rose Tico in The Last Jedi says he would love to see what a woman would do with the reins. Star Wars has "so many female characters who are so strong and vulnerable at the same time and represented by a way that is not super sexualized. It is innovative in that way. But it will be something completely new. have someone in charge of the creative side of it. "

Previous: Why & # 39; subtle sexism of the Justice League made us lose & # 39; Wonder Woman & # 39;

Related: Love for Leia could push & # 39; The Last Jedi & # 39; to a $ 200M opening

One Galaxy should not be very, very far from the women behind the camera, says Silverstein.

With King and Jyn as protagonists, "you have girls growing up believing they could be Jedi," he says. "So the next step is to believe that a woman could direct a Jedi. "

Contributed by: Brian Truitt

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