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Kathleen Kennedy Says Star Wars’ Female Actors Struggle Due to ‘Male Dominated’ Fanbase

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Kathleen Kennedy Says Star Wars’ Female Actors Struggle Due to ‘Male Dominated’ Fanbase

Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy has spoken out about the treatment of female actors, directors, and writers in the Star Wars universe, citing a ”male-dominated” fanbase as an issue. She also offered support to the creator of the new show, The Acolyte.

In a New York Times interview with Star Wars, The Acolyte creator Leslye Headland brings up the extreme reactions modern Star Wars shows and movies bring. Headland’s show has been the latest to draw ire from sections of the fanbase. First it was concerns about it possibly breaking Star Wars canon (or not).

However, as more was learned about The Acolyte, a mystery thriller set at the very beginning of the Star Wars canon, there were almost predictable grumblings about a perceived overabundance of women and minority characters.

Headland tends to distance herself from such complaints, but she’s not immune to it. “As a fan myself, I know how frustrating some ‘Star Wars’ storytelling in the past has been,” Headland said, in the interview. “I’ve felt it myself.”

“I stand by my empathy for ‘Star Wars’ fans,” she later wrote in a text message. “But I want to be clear. Anyone who engages in bigotry, racism, or hate speech … I don’t consider a fan.”

It’s a sadly predictable aspect of modern Star Wars fandom. Star Wars head Kathleen Kennedy is all too familiar with it.

Kathleen Kennedy discusses sexism in Star Wars’ fanbase

In the interview, there’s a quick chat with Kathleen Kennedy. She comments on the sour side of opinion on The Acolyte and modern Star Wars. Additionally, she supported Headland and defended her position on modern Star wars

“My belief is that storytelling does need to be representative of all people,” said Kennedy. “That’s an easy decision for me.”

“Operating within these giant franchises now, with social media and the level of expectation — it’s terrifying,” Kennedy continued. “I think Leslye has struggled a little bit with it. I think a lot of the women who step into ‘Star Wars’ struggle with this a bit more. Because of the fan base being so male dominated, they sometimes get attacked in ways that can be quite personal.”

Star Wars: The Acolyte is set during the High Republic, approximately 100 years before Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. The official synopsis reads: “An investigation into a shocking crime spree pits a respected Jedi Master against a dangerous warrior from his past. As more clues emerge, they travel down a dark path where sinister forces reveal all is not what it seems.”

The Acolyte stars Lee Jung-jae, Amandla Stenberg, Manny Jacinto, Dafne Keen, Charlie Barnett, Jodie Turner-Smith, Rebecca Henderson, Dean-Charles Chapman, Joonas Suotamo, and Carrie-Anne Moss.

The first two episodes of Star Wars: The Acolyte premiere on June 4, 2024, on Disney+. The next six episodes will be released weekly.