The gay woman at the helm of the new Star Wars series says she’s ‘shocked’ to be making franchise herstory
The next Star Wars TV series will be spearheaded by a gay woman, Russian Doll creator Leslye Headland.
Headland will serve as writer, executive producer, and showrunner for the new live-action series coming to the Disney Plus, an exciting addition to a franchise that has often been criticised for its lack of representation.
She’s one of only two women to have been appointed to helm a live-action Star Wars project in the franchise’s 43-year history, along with Deborah Chow, who is taking the reins on an upcoming Obi-Wan Kenobi spin-off. Chow was the first woman to ever direct a live-action Star Wars project, having worked on The Mandalorian.
In a recent interview with EW, Headland said she was “shocked” to learn that she was making history as a gay woman taking the reins of one of the most iconic Hollywood properties.
“It’s shocking to hear that to me,” she said. “Although I know it’s true because there are so few of us that are allowed to sit at the table, so to speak, and many, many more that are still not allowed.
“It’s an honour in the sense that I feel incredibly grateful and lucky,” she continued, adding that “a lot of this business is luck.”
A “major Star Wars fan”, Headland will be following on from the success of The Mandalorian, also on the Disney Plus streaming platform.
Headland recognises the significance of her role in continuing that legacy, but also acknowledges her responsibility as a trailblazer for women and LGBT+ people, who often struggle to “get into the room” in a genre that has had relatively few minorities appointed to director positions.
“I think that when you’re working at a disadvantage, meaning you are part of an oppressed or marginalised community, it is very difficult, as they say, to become what you cannot see,” she admitted.
She hopes she can forge a path for other marginalised people and help more of their voices to be heard in the industry.
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“The real joy is when I read a young woman’s script, or a young woman of colour’s script, or a young LGBTQ writer and say, ‘Oh my God, this is great. This is great. I’m going to send this off to this person. You know who I know would love this? It is so and so. I’m going to send that to that person,'” she said.
“I don’t say that in an altruistic way or yay me, or I’m a good person. I’m saying that actually makes me happy.”