While fans will have to wait to see a woman or a person of color direct a Star Wars film, significant progress toward reaching that milestone came today with the news that Victoria Mahoney will be serving as a second unit director on Episode IX.
Earlier today, Ava DuVernay – a friend of director J. J. Abrams and someone who doesn’t want to do a Star Wars movie right now (as, in spite of being a fan-favorite to, she’d prefer to handle an adaptation of Jack Kirby’s New Gods) – spilled the beans that Victoria Mahoney would be working with Abrams on Episode IX:
Happy to share this historic news. A black woman directing stories in a galaxy far, far away. First unit director #JJAbrams. Second unit director @VictoriaMahoney. #StarWarsE9 #StarWars pic.twitter.com/s689jv9I4u
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) April 17, 2018
Shortly afterward, Mahoney came out and confirmed the news:
Catt’s outta the bag. Thank you @ava for putting my name in the #StarWars #LucasFilm hat. Thank you #JJAbrams for inviting me on your ferocious ride. *This one’s for the outliers, dreaming big–in small corners of the Earth.
— Vic Mahoney (@VictoriaMahoney) April 17, 2018
To clarify what a second unit director actually does, it’s a role that’s obviously a lot smaller than a standard director, but it covers things such as establishing shots and stunts. But with that in mind, if you’re watching a movie, odds are that you’ll be looking at a mix of footage both from the first and second units – meaning that Mahoney will be able to leave her mark on Star Wars even if Abrams is running the show. In any case, having her involved in a project of this size is a step up from her previous work, and it might even put her on a path to direct one of the standalone movies. This is a great day for Lucasfilm and this announcement is one that will likely help pave the way for greater representation behind the camera of the new Star Wars films.