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The First Black Woman Hired As 2nd Unit Director For A Star Wars Movie

Director Ava DuVernay posted this on her Twitter yesterday:

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

Victoria Mahoney and JJ Abrams

Victoria Mahoney and JJ Abrams

Click through for some details.


Victoria Mahoney has a background as an actress (she had a small role in Legally Blonde, among other things) and in the past seven years she directed several TV episodes for various shows (Grey’s Anatomy, American Crime) and a few made for TV movies. She has no SciFi background.

In recent times both Rian Johnson and JJ Abrams voiced their opinions that sooner or later a woman and/or person of color should direct a Star Wars movie. It seems that at least Abrams is trying to get a more diverse staff for his movies, he had announced before that he would introduce a diversity quota for his production company Bad Robot until his staff more or less represents the ethnic make-up of the USA.

Since there aren’t that many experienced female directors and non-white directors out there who could tackle a Star Wars movie it’s a good idea to give someone some experience first, 2nd unit director is certainly one way to do it. The upcoming live action TV show will also create lots of opportunities to find new talent and to give them experience. So who knows, maybe Victoria will get her very own Star Wars movie later down the road or she might direct some episodes for the live action Star Wars series!

Congratulations to her and I hope Abrams and her will make a great Episode IX!

One final thought from me: I just wish people like DuVernay could stop treating this as “historic news”. This is not the moon landing. All this could put undue pressure on the person hired for the job. Fortunately, Victoria Mahoney won’t feel that much pressure as a 2nd unit director. And I hope that when the day comes that she or some other woman or non-white person gets their own Star Wars movie, it’ll be just the same as if it was announced that JJ Abrams will direct his 3rd Star Wars movie. Just get the best people for the job, and make great movies!

Source for the Tweet and photo: Ava DuVernay’s Twitter.

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