Even though most Star Wars movies tend to be highly profitable and entertaining affairs, the people in charge of those movies tend to all look the same. In short, all but one of the key Star Wars' creators (writers, directors or creative leaders) have been white men. The newest faces to the franchise, Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, who have been given the opportunity to develop their own series of Star Wars film, have only helped further skew the ratio.
On the back of a blockbuster success of a Marvel franchise movie like Black Panther, a film that purposefully boasted a majority black cast but also plenty of people of color behind the scenes, calls for diversity in the entertainment industry in all areas have begun getting louder. Different perspectives make for more interesting movies, and that clearly translates into box office success, so it’s hard to understand why this is such a difficult concept to understand.
Ava DuVernay is one of the forefront female directors of color, and she seems bent on allowing her unique perspective to have a definite stamp on all her projects. With her newest movie, A Wrinkle in Time, Ava has become the first woman of color to direct a live-action film with a budget of over $100 million. This milestone has had some thinking that Ava could be setting herself up for bigger franchise movies in the future.
One fan of A Wrinkle in Time mentioned on Twitter that the director’s newest sci-fi blockbuster put her “on the radar” for a Star Wars movie, since her movie’s visuals were on point and the “messages [were] in line with the Disney and Lucasfilms brand.”
Ava saw the tweet, and answered that “Star Wars is not for me.”
Star Wars is not for me. But, very happy you dug WRINKLE IN TIME. xo https://t.co/CcrhVbY5hT— Ava DuVernay (@ava) March 7, 2018
Ava also famously turned down Black Panther because it just wouldn’t “be an Ava DuVernay film” if she had to sacrifice her own artistic vision to keep in step with Marvel’s franchise.
“For me, it was a process of trying to figure out, are these people I want to go to bed with? Because it’s really a marriage, and for this, it would be three years,” she said back in 2015. “It’d be three years of not doing other things that are important to me. So it was a question of, is this important enough for me to do?”
Turning down Star Wars, then, even if only on principle, seems to align well with her other views. After all, just because she’s a female director of color doesn’t mean she should give up her own goals and vision to accept every high-profile project that comes her way.
DuVernay recently spoke about the fact that we shouldn’t get too excited about the successes of Black Panther or her own A Wrinkle in Time. She admitted that she herself was an “anomaly,” as is Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther, Barry Jenkins’s Moonlight, and Dee Rees’s Mudbound. “When you can name us all on two hands, that’s not change,” DuVernay recently said at a What She Said series event.