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Rian Johnson, the director of the latest Star Wars movie has said it’s time an episode in the series was entrusted to a female and/or non-white film-maker.

“Hell yes it’s time,” said Rian Johnson at a press conference for Star Wars: The Last Jedi in central London.

“There are so many incredibly talented female directors, directors of colour out there, and so many that I would love to see play in this universe.”

Every Star Wars director from George Lucas on has been a white man.

The Last Jedi and its predecessor, 2015’s The Force Awakens, have been praised for having a female lead character and an ethnically diverse cast.

Yet the director’s chair has remained an all-male preserve, despite the woman in charge of the series – Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy – expressing a desire for it to have a female occupant “when the time is right”.

Star Wars directors to date

  • George Lucas (A New Hope, The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, Revenge of the Sith)
  • Irvin Kershner (The Empire Strikes Back)
  • Richard Marquand (Return of the Jedi)
  • JJ Abrams (The Force Awakens, Episode IX)
  • Gareth Edwards (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story)
  • Rian Johnson (The Last Jedi)
  • Ron Howard (Solo: A Star Wars Story)

New additions to the Star Wars ensemble in The Last Jedi include Puerto Rican actor Benicio Del Toro and Kelly Marie Tran, the first Asian-American actress to have a lead role in the series.

Tran, 28, said she “felt at home” on the set despite being “this complete new person”, adding that she would be “reliving those moments we had on set for the rest of my life in my mind”.

Rian Johnson, whose previous films include Brick and Looper, said it “felt good” for the franchise “to reflect the world a little more closely as it is today and how it looks around us”.

Yet he promised this would not extend to taking the series to Earth. He’s been invited to create a new Star Wars trilogy once the current trilogy concludes in 2019.

“In so far as it is within my power, I solemnly promise that Luke Skywalker will never fade up into modern-day New York, even though it would be a really funny fish-out-of-water story,” he joked.