More

'Star Wars' director Rian Johnson calls for diversity with a resounding 'Hell yeah!'

There are a galaxy's worth of stories to tell. Maybe it's time to hear some new voices.

People are really hyped about the new Star Wars movie, and based on early reviews, it seems like they're in for a treat.

"The Last Jedi" marks the ninth film in the Star Wars franchise, and it comes complete with all the hallmarks of its predecessors — whirring lightsabers, laser blasters, adorable robots, and wise old dudes with magical powers. By most accounts, it's a must-see.

[rebelmouse-image 19532935 dam="1" original_size="750x314" caption="This is me being excited about "The Last Jedi." Image from Star Wars/Disney." expand=1]This is me being excited about "The Last Jedi." Image from Star Wars/Disney.


However, there is one thing that's been the same across every film — the kind of thing you'd hope would be different for a film franchise in its fourth decade — and it's pretty noticeable when you look at all the directors it's had so far.

As you can see here, they all look pretty simil — oh wait, wrong photo.

Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images.

Ah! Here. Sorry about that. Where was I? Ah, right, so if you take a look at the film's directors, you'll notice a clear trend. They've all been white men.

[rebelmouse-image 19532937 dam="1" original_size="750x390" caption="Clockwise from top left: Star Wars creator George Lucas, "The Force Awakens" director J.J. Abrams, "The Empire Strikes Back" director Irvin Kershner, "The Last Jedi" director Rian Johnson, and "Rogue One" director Gareth Edwards." expand=1]Clockwise from top left: Star Wars creator George Lucas, "The Force Awakens" director J.J. Abrams, "The Empire Strikes Back" director Irvin Kershner, "The Last Jedi" director Rian Johnson, and "Rogue One" director Gareth Edwards.

Now, of course, there's absolutely nothing wrong with being a white man. Some of my best friends are white men. My dad is a white man, even. Nearly into double digits, however, you'd think that an epic film franchise like Star Wars would want to branch out a bit to see some fresh new perspectives. For instance, imagine what an Ava DuVernay ("Selma") or Ryan Coogler ("Black Panther") Star Wars film could look like, or maybe Patti Jenkins ("Wonder Woman") or Jordan Peele ("Get Out"). How cool would that be?

One person who thinks the franchise could use a bit of diversity in the director's chair is "The Last Jedi" director Rian Johnson.

When asked by Yahoo Movies U.K. whether it's time to diversify the Star Wars director's chair, Johnson responded with an enthusiastic, "Hell, yes, it’s time!"

"There are so many incredibly talented female directors, directors of color out there, and so many I would love to see play in this universe," he added. "Yes, please. I would love it to happen."

Johnson speaking at a press conference. Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Disney.

Unfortunately, that's not a decision Johnson gets to make. It doesn't look like there are going to be any big changes to the white, male director lineup in the near term. J.J. Abrams is set to return as director for Episode IX, Ron Howard is slated to take helm of 2018's "Solo: A Star Wars Story," and Johnson is getting his own trilogy. While things are set for a bit, the fact that the Star Wars universe keeps expanding could be cause for a new hope (Get it? Like the name of one of the movies? Get it?) when it comes to seeing some off-camera diversity.

The Star Wars franchise has done a phenomenal job when it comes to boosting on-screen diversity in recent films, and it's paid off in a big way.

Both 2015's "The Force Awakens" and 2016's "Rogue One" had female leads with a racially and gender diverse supporting cast. They both were massively successful at the box office ("The Force Awakens" made more than $2 billion, and "Rogue One" made more than $1 billion) and impressed critics as well ("The Force Awakens" nabbed a 93% Rotten Tomatoes ranking, and "Rogue One" got an 85%).

[rebelmouse-image 19532939 dam="1" original_size="750x443" caption="Lupita Nyong'o, John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, and Oscar Isaac starred in "The Force Awakens." Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney." expand=1]Lupita Nyong'o, John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, and Oscar Isaac starred in "The Force Awakens." Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney.

So while the franchise definitely deserves major kudos for its casting in recent films (perhaps they learned a lesson after the disasters that were the prequels), it'd be pretty great if the next time out, they gave someone different a try behind the camera to tell brand-new stories with a fresh perspective in that galaxy a long time ago and far, far away.

Joy

Man uses TikTok to offer 'dinner with dad' to any kid that needs one, even adult ones

Summer Clayton is the father of 2.4 million kids and he couldn’t be more proud.

Come for the food, stay for the wholesomeness.

Summer Clayton is the father of 2.4 million kids and he couldn’t be more proud. His TikTok channel is dedicated to giving people intimate conversations they might long to have with their own father, but can’t. The most popular is his “Dinner With Dad” segment.

The concept is simple: Clayton, aka Dad, always sets down two plates of food. He always tells you what’s for dinner. He always blesses the food. He always checks in with how you’re doing.

I stress the stability here, because as someone who grew up with a less-than-stable relationship with their parents, it stood out immediately. I found myself breathing a sigh of relief at Clayton’s consistency. I also noticed the immediate emotional connection created just by being asked, “How was your day?” According to relationship coach and couples counselor Don Olund, these two elements—stability and connection—are fundamental cravings that children have of their parents. Perhaps we never really stop needing it from them.


Keep Reading Show less

Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy asked his Senate colleagues the questions millions of Americans have after a mass shooting.

Another school shooting. Another mass murder of innocent children. They were elementary school kids this time. There were 18 children killed—so far—this time.

The fact that I can say "this time" is enraging, but that's the routine nature of mass shootings in the U.S. It happened in Texas this time. At least three adults were killed this time. The shooter was a teenager this time.

The details this time may be different than the last time and the time before that, and the time before that, and the time before that. But there's one thing all mass shootings have in common. No, it's not mental illness. It's not racism or misogyny or religious extremism. It's not bad parenting or violent video games or lack of religion.

Some of those things have been factors in some shootings, but the single common denominator in every mass shooting is guns. That's not a secret. It's not controversial. It's fact. The only thing all mass shootings have in common is guns.

Keep Reading Show less
Joy

Meet Eva, the hero dog who risked her life saving her owner from a mountain lion

Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva when a mountain lion suddenly appeared.

Photo by Didssph on Unsplash

A sweet face and fierce loyalty: Belgian Malinois defends owner.

The Belgian Malinois is a special breed of dog. It's highly intelligent, extremely athletic and needs a ton of interaction. While these attributes make the Belgian Malinois the perfect dog for police and military work, they can be a bit of a handful as a typical pet.

As Belgian Malinois owner Erin Wilson jokingly told NPR, they’re basically "a German shepherd on steroids or crack or cocaine.”

It was her Malinois Eva’s natural drive, however, that ended up saving Wilson’s life.

According to a news release from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva slightly ahead of her when a mountain lion suddenly appeared and swiped Wilson across the left shoulder. She quickly yelled Eva’s name and the dog’s instincts kicked in immediately. Eva rushed in to defend her owner.

It wasn’t long, though, before the mountain lion won the upper hand, much to Wilson’s horror.

She told TODAY, “They fought for a couple seconds, and then I heard her start crying. That’s when the cat latched on to her skull.”

Keep Reading Show less