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The director whose film launched the Marvel Cinematic Universe is coming to a galaxy far, far away. Jon Favreau, the filmmaker behind Iron Man, Elf, and Disney’s live-action Jungle Book and Lion King, will write and executive-produce a live-action Star Wars series for Disney’s new streaming platform. Lucasfilm announced today that Favreau, who is also an actor with roles in the Clone Wars animated series and the upcoming Solo: A Star Wars Story, will helm the new show. While Favreau has a strong fanbase (going all the way back to his 1996 debut film Swingers), many on social media are wondering why Lucasfilm has hired yet another white man to steer the diverse Star Wars universe — and announced it on International Women’s Day, no less.
“Jon brings the perfect mix of producing and writing talent, combined with a fluency in the Star Wars universe,” Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy said in the announcement. “This series will allow Jon the chance to work with a diverse group of writers and directors and give Lucasfilm the opportunity to build a robust talent base.”
The phrase “diverse group of writers and directors” hints that Favreau might place women or people of color in key roles on the as-yet-unnamed series. But the carefully worded statement doesn’t say it outright, and fans still annoyed that the latest Star Wars trilogy will be helmed by the Game of Thrones creators were none too pleased.
So now we have Johnson, Benioff & Weiss, and Favreau all with their own Star Wars movies in development.
In a franchise that could tell any story, be for anyone, in a galaxy far far away… why are we still only seeing the stories written by white nerd bros on our screens?
— Ivia Relle (@IviaRelle) March 8, 2018
On the one hand, Jon Favreau is a proven blockbuster filmmaker with a strong command of fantasy storytelling.
On the other hand, announcing that another straight white dude is helming a Star Wars project ON INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY is… not great.https://t.co/cYeU7eGIyk
— Adam B. Vary (@adambvary) March 8, 2018
— Rachel Bernstein (@rachel_shoshana) March 8, 2018
on a personal note, the implication that the world of spaceships and laser swords and robots belongs solely to white boys is deeply alienating. that wasn’t true for me, or for a lot of non-white and/or non-boys out there. It’s not even true IN THE LITERAL STAR WARS MOVIES lollll
— sonia saraiya (@soniasaraiya) March 8, 2018
I’m excited by this news, but Lucasfilm really needs to announce someone working on their shows at this level that isn’t a white dude fast. https://t.co/rCHkXQX9mK
— Bryan Young (@swankmotron) March 8, 2018
The Favreau announcement seems especially jarring in light of Disney’s active push toward more inclusive blockbusters. Right now, Black Panther is the biggest movie in the world, and promotion for a A Wrinkle in Time (opening Friday) has heavily emphasized its female director and racially diverse cast. Recent Star Wars films have excelled at bringing women and minorities to the forefront of the story — yet behind the camera, it’s a different story. The good news: If Favreau and Kennedy want to get back on Twitter’s good side, they just need to borrow two little words from Frances McDormand: inclusion rider.
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