Kathleen Kennedy, Jennifer Lawrence, & the Women of Star Wars

Fortune magazine’s Michal Lev-Ram recently sat down to talk with Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy, who is #42 on Fortune‘s Most Powerful Women list. In the video below Kennedy talks about the number of women working on Star Wars within Lucasfilm, as well as the support from Disney on her effort to grow the number of women in executive positions and all other positions within the company, within the movies, and even within the stories’ protagonists.

Facts shared by Kennedy include:

  • 50% of the Lucasfilm executive team is women
  • 6 out of 8 of the Story Group members are women
  • women are a majority of the people involved in the new Star Wars movies’ development

It is going to happen. We are going to hire a woman to direct a Star Wars movie. I have no doubt.
~ Kathleen Kennedy

It’s interesting to note that Kennedy mentions that she has a lot of men calling her saying they’re big Star Wars fans and wanting to get involved, but not a lot of women. Today Jennifer Lawrence’s essay made waves as she wondered why she got paid less than her male co-stars. Lawrence addressed how she feels that her attempts to not be “difficult” probably figured in – something she also believes those same co-stars didn’t worry about when they negotiated their salary because they were men. It wouldn’t be surprising if that same sensibility figures in to Kennedy not getting bombarded with calls from women.

And while it’s nice to know Kennedy would want any female director they hire to be set-up for success, the idea of it being a challenge to find someone who is passionate and doesn’t have to be talked into it is discouraging. After all even though he was publicly passionate about it, she had to talk J.J. Abrams into taking on The Force Awakens.

It’s a good reminder that you have to ask for what you want. We’ve certainly seen authors do just that. Chuck Wendig spoke up last year about wanting to write a Star Wars book and this year that book was published. More recently we’ve seen Alexandra Bracken mention wanting a Padmé novel and Cecil Castellucci voice her support for telling a handmaiden story. Hopefully that pays off for these women as well.



She grew up wanting to be an astronaut. After seeing Star Wars, she wanted to be Princess Leia, Han Solo, and an astronaut. Life’s taken her on a bit of a different path, but she’s okay with that. Kay is FANgirl's resident geek fashion expert and co-host of the Hyperspace Theories podcast. She reviews books and movies for the site with a heart for storytelling and a mind that likes to analyze. Kay's been a guest on various podcasts sharing her love and knowledge of storytelling, film-making, fashion, and of course, Star Wars. Most days are filled with her work as a creative services professional - designing websites & branding, photographing, voice acting, editing, and more. Kay spends the little bit of free time she has reading, costuming, and, of course, making pew pew noises. She would pick up more jobs and hobbies if she was a Time Lord.

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