Star Wars Boss Kathleen Kennedy Is Not a 'Woke Warrior' at Disney (Report)

By Nathan Johnson Posted:
Kathleen Kennedy, Star Wars movie and show tiles

Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy took plenty of backlash from much of the Star Wars fanbase due to her advocating for diversity, but she may not be the "woke warrior" some believe her to be at Disney.

After Daisy Ridley was cast as the lead in Star Wars' sequel trilogy and other female actresses like Rosario Dawson and Natasha Liu Bordizzo played prominent roles on Disney+, some fans claimed that Kennedy was pushing a political agenda. This later led to the Lucasfilm boss being described by that sect as "woke."

The popular adult animated series South Park even released a special that featured Kennedy in a satirical manner as the face of the "woke community" at Disney, claiming that she only makes decisions to "pander to everyone."

The upcoming Disney+ series, The Acolyte, has also been subject to this same criticism due to it featuring a female writer, director, and showrunner (Leslye Headland) and putting much of its of focus on female characters.

Kathleen Kennedy Is Not as "Woke" as Some Believe

Daisy Ridley, Kathleen Kennedy,  and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy
Star Wars Celebration 2023

According to Matthew Belloni via his The Town podcast, Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy isn't accurately portrayed by some fans as being the face of diversity at Disney.

Some go as far as to call Kennedy "woke," but Belloni revealed that these claims aren't "accurate." He specifically stated that "she's not known as the 'woke warrior'" at the company and frequently even "has to be convinced" to include a lot of the diverse elements:

"But Kathleen Kennedy is not... That whole 'South Park' thing was... It was funny, but it wasn't accurate. Within Disney, she's not known as the 'woke warrior.' She kind of has to be convinced, from everything I've been told, she kind of has to be convinced to do this stuff."

Belloni also pointed out that "there's still never been a female director of a Star Wars movie," and that he personally believes she has not "gone overboard on the diversity stuff:"

"And there's still never been a female director of a 'Star Wars' movie. I'm very critical of Kathleen Kennedy, but I don't think she's gone overboard on the diversity stuff."

Has Kathleen Kennedy Made Star Wars Too 'Woke?'

As previously mentioned, some fans believe that the modern state of Star Wars has been dominated by female actors and executives just for the sake of diversity.

While there have been a lot more females in executive roles and as lead actors recently, those claims can easily be disputed and entirely brushed off.

Take the sequel trilogy, for example, Yes, Daisy Ridley headlined the three films that came out between 2015 and 2019. However, male actors such as Oscar Isaac and John Boyega also had major roles, as did Adam Driver.

It is also important to note that the two directors who brought the sequels to life (J.J. Abrams and Rian Johnson) are both men.

When looking at the Star Wars shows that have been released on Disney+, the same can be said. Rosario Dawson was the focus of the Ahsoka series and Natasha Liu Bordizzo had a major role as Sabine Wren, but other projects such as The Mandalorian, Andor, The Book of Boba Fett, and Obi-Wan Kenobi have all featured male headliners.

A lot of fans are also pointing out how The Acolyte will be directed and written by Leslye Headland, claiming that she only got the role because Kathleen Kennedy is striving for diversity.

Aside from Obi-Wan Kenobi (which was directed by Deborah Chow), no other Star Wars project has been wholly directed and/or written by a female, making these claims completely baseless.

In short, it appears as though Kathleen Kennedy doesn't put as much focus on hiring females for the sake of diversity as much as some fans want to believe.

Read more about Kathleen Kennedy below:

Star Wars Producer Calls Out Toxic Fandom Attacking Kathleen Kennedy

Gina Carano Issues Statement Blasting Lucasfilm Boss Kathleen Kennedy After Star Wars Firing

Star Wars Exec Explains Why Rey Kenobi Never Made Sense

- About The Author: Nathan Johnson
Nathan is a writer at The Direct where he covers Star Wars, the MCU, and DC news. He joined The Direct in April 2021 and currently writes news and feature articles about all three brands mentioned above, but his main specialty is his knowledge about anything and everything Star Wars.