Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy the new director for Star Wars movies
Courtesy Creative collective Wild Gift/Latin Times

In a historic moment for the Star Wars franchise, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, a trailblazing Pakistani-Canadian filmmaker, has been announced as the first woman to direct a film in the iconic series. This landmark decision not only breaks new ground in terms of gender representation but also introduces a rich, diverse perspective to the beloved sci-fi saga.

Obaid-Chinoy is set to direct an untitled Star Wars film featuring Daisy Ridley as Rey Skywalker, exploring Rey's quest to rebuild the Jedi Order 15 years after "Star Wars: Episode 9 - The Rise of Skywalker."

"I'm very thrilled about the project because I feel what we're about to create is something very special," Obaid-Chinoy told CNN. "We're in 2024 now, and it's about time that we had a woman come forward to shape a story in a galaxy far, far away."

Obaid-Chinoy's journey to Star Wars

Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy is an acclaimed figure in the world of filmmaking. Her career is marked by her focus on critical social issues and her distinctive storytelling style. She has earned global recognition, including two Oscars, for her documentary shorts "Saving Face" and "A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness."

Both documentaries highlight pressing social issues in Pakistan—acid attacks and honor killings, respectively—showcasing Obaid-Chinoy's commitment to shedding light on challenging topics through her work.

Arriving in Star Wars via Marvel

Beyond documentaries, Obaid-Chinoy has made significant contributions to various other genres. She directed episodes of the Disney+ series Ms. Marvel featuring the franchise's first Muslim character, Kamala Khan. This work not only garnered critical acclaim but also cemented Obaid-Chinoy's reputation as a versatile and visionary director.

A very minority-oriented Star Wars

The Star Wars franchise has also seen a significant presence of minority actors, specifically Latinos, both in front of the camera and behind the scenes. Actors like Oscar Isaac, Pedro Pascal, Rosario Dawson, Diego Luna, Benicio Del Toro, and Jimmy Smits have portrayed memorable characters, enriching the franchise's narrative diversity.

Their roles, ranging from heroes to complex characters, have added depth and representation to the franchise in both film and streaming. Fans are awaiting a third season of Pascal's "The Mandalorian", as well as a second season of Dawson's "Ahsoka".

After a long delay related to the actor's strike, Luna is reportedly filming the second season of "Andor".

The franchise's commitment to diversity extends to its creative team as well. Latino talent has been pivotal in shaping the Star Wars universe, exemplified by figures like Pablo Hidalgo, a Chilean-Canadian LucasFilm executive responsible for maintaining narrative cohesion within the franchise.

Another step towards inclusivity in Hollywood

The Star Wars franchise is, no doubt, embarking on a thrilling new journey with Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy's directorial debut, signifying a progressive step towards inclusivity and diversity.

The continued involvement of Latino talent in the series further enriches its storytelling, offering a tapestry of perspectives that resonate with audiences worldwide. This evolution in the franchise reflects a broader industry trend towards embracing varied cultures and narratives, thus enriching the cinematic experience for all.

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