The Star Wars franchise got a surprising jolt of new talent yesterday, when news broke that Game Of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss had been granted their own series of spin-off films set in Disney’s beloved space opera universe. Benioff and Weiss feel like a weird choice for the fundamentally idealistic Star Wars universe, but they do have one thing that’s overwhelmingly in common with the other people who’ve helmed the franchise in the past: They’re both white men.
That’s something they share with 96 percent of the other writers and directors on the Star Wars films, according to a new column today in Variety. That number represents 40 years, 17 films (past and future), and 24 people, all but one of whom was a Caucasian male. The sole exception: Leigh Brackett, who co-write The Empire Strikes Back. These statistics only apply to the films, of course, not the various TV series, comic books, novels, video games, and other properties that have cropped up around the series, but they’re still pretty depressing for a series that’s been so fundamental to so many people of all walks of life.
Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy has said in the past that she’s committed to finding women and people of color—who have never been represented in the creative teams of one of the biggest and most profitable film franchises in existence—to head up a Star Wars movie; that being said, it didn’t stop her from tapping guys like Ron Howard and J.J. Abrams (and, indeed, Benioff and Weiss) to take over directing duties for the franchise’s latest slate of films.