Begun, the streaming wars have. Having ended their pact with Netflix earlier this year, Disney has made strides for its own as of yet unnamed streaming service which is set to debut sometime in 2019. One way to ensure that there’s plenty of interest in the upcoming streaming platform is to announce that an original Star Wars series will be exclusively on the untitled platform. Today Lucasfilm announced that Jon Favreau, the director of The Jungle Book, Iron Man, and the upcoming version of The Lion King, will produce and write the as of yet untitled Star Wars series to stream on the as of yet untitled streaming service.
Here are Favreau’s comments on the new show from the press release:
“I couldn’t be more excited about Jon coming on board to produce and write for the new direct-to-consumer platform,” says Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy. “Jon brings the perfect mix of producing and writing talent, combined with a fluency in the Star Wars universe. This series will allow Jon the chance to work with a diverse group of writers and directors and give Lucasfilm the opportunity to build a robust talent base.”
Favreau is thrilled to be returning to the Star Wars galaxy: “If you told me at 11 years old that I would be getting to tell stories in the Star Wars universe, I wouldn’t have believed you. I can’t wait to embark upon this exciting adventure.”
While Favreau is undoubtedly an incredibly talented storyteller, there’s something just off about this announcement and it further highlights a problem that Lucasfilm is encountering with furthering calls for diversity. Today, March 8th, is International Women’s Day and this is honored in the Star Wars world by yet another hiring of a white dude to helm their projects – a long-standing tradition that has been unbroken for 40 years. The head of Lucasfilm, Kathleen Kennedy, was given a golden opportunity to buck this trend today but instead opted to reinforce the status quo. Frankly, it’s baffling that Lucasfilm has struggled to make strides in the diversity department. More than just the need for Star Wars to embrace new voices, Black Panther has proven that diversity can also be really damn good for business.
I love Star Wars and I think Jon Favreau will do a hell of a job. The previous paragraph is by no means a commentary on his talents, which have consistently surprised me in a variety of ways over the years. Lucasfilm needs to catch up with the times. Today would’ve been the perfect time to make a splash, but I guess we’ll just have to wait until next year.