Leslye Headland spoke to EW about her place in Star Wars history regarding her upcoming Disney+ series
Star Wars entertainment has slowly grown over the decades to be more inclusive. The live-action mediums have further to go when it comes to LGBTQ+ representation, but it seems it may be taking another step in that direction.
Leslye Headland is creating a Star Wars show for Disney+. It’s not just that a woman is having control over a Star Wars series – which is a feat in its own right given the franchise’s history – but that Headland is a gay woman. She recently spoke to EW about her place in Star Wars history.
“It’s shocking to hear that to me. 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 honor in the sense that I feel incredibly grateful and lucky. I also would say that… I think Fran would agree with this, that a lot of this business is luck. A lot of it is.”
Headland is best known for her work on Russian Doll, a Netflix series. Disney announced Headland was joining Star Wars quietly on May 4. It was overshadowed by Taika Waititi’s announcement that he would be directing a future movie in the franchise.
For Star Wars, Headland will write, executive produce and showrun an untitled series that will be on Disney+.
And this matters. As much as some fans may want to dismiss it. It matters.
Star Wars has been criticized for its lack of LGBTQ+ representation throughout its movies. In the books and comics, there are more characters in starring roles (See: Doctor Aphra), but that’s not the case in live action. Star Wars has also been criticized for the lack of women in directing roles.
By adding new voices behind the camera, it lends to new voices in front of it, helping to create a richer world that looks more like the places we live.
Headland feels by getting her foot in the door, she’ll be able to help others in as well.
“The number one way to get into the room is when people send the elevator back down for you.” … The real joy is when I read a young woman’s script, or a young woman of color’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.’ 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.”
In this day, others shouldn’t have to feel this type of burden and having to represent for an entire community, but we’re still here. There are going to be critics who will try to argue that it doesn’t matter who or what they are — as long as they have a good story, they should be given the reins.
If only the world was so idyllic as that, we would get there.
For now, Star Wars continues to take small steps in the direction in adding new, fresh and different voices. It’s not perfect, but we can only get there if we continue moving forward together.
Stream Star Wars movies and The Mandalorian on Disney+.