Since George Lucas laid the first stone of the vast universe of ‘Star Wars’ in 1977 with what would later become the fourth episode of the saga, the figure of the woman has always been present with characters as strong as Princess Leia Organa, Padme Amidala or a King who made the franchise evolve by placing a female for the first time in the leading role of episodes VII, VIII and IX.
Behind the scenes, the situation has been very different during the almost five decades that Siths, Jedis and other galactic mythology have been projected on the big screen. All this time, ‘Star Wars’ has been written in men’s handwriting; be it Lucas himself, Richard Marquand’s, Rian Johnson and JJ Abrams, who shaped the third trilogy, or an Irvin Kershner who touched the sky with the huge ‘The Empire Strikes Back’.
Kathleen Kennedy, presidenta de LucasFilm, has expressed on numerous occasions its intention to break with this dynamic, considering the hiring of women filmmakers “as an absolute priority”: But, while in the television field steps are already being taken with signings such as Deborah Chow – who will be in charge of captaining the new Obi-Wan series for Disney + -, the company’s film division has not yet found a director that contributes his vision to the space epic.
As well, Disney already has the perfect candidate on the payroll for this jobHis name is Bryce Dallas Howard, and with his spectacular work on chapters 4 and 11 of the equally magnificent ‘The Mandalorian’ he has shown that he inherited more than the color of his hair from his father; displaying an enviable talent in two very different registers.
From Akira Kurosawa to space pirates
The galactic debut of Bryce Dallas Howard, who before taking control of ‘The Mandalorian’ had signed several short films and the long documentary ‘Dads’ – which can be seen on Apple TV + -, surprised friends and strangers; mainly because of the way in which he captured the essence of the work of an Akira Kurosawa whose ‘The Hidden Fortress’ already inspired George Lucas to conceive the famous ‘A New Hope’.
In ‘Sanctuary’, the first of the two episodes she has made for Jon Favreau’s series, the director He embraced without restraint the spirit and the plot bases of ‘The Seven Samurais’ to put on the ropes a village under threat of siege that, in addition, stands as a kind of oasis that could alienate the Mandalorian protagonist from his dangerous life as a bounty hunter.
Under this premise, Howard mined gold from a developing Mando; showing a special sensitivity when working his dynamics with Omera —potential love interest and escape route at the same time— and when portraying the life of a Sorgan planet in which The child enjoys a little peace and tranquility in a beautiful natural environment. But the pleasant tone that predominates in much of the passages of the story no exempted the filmmaker from taking out heavy artillery in a spectacular night action sequence with a menacing AT-ST included.
This contrast between emotion and spectacle has once again made an appearance in ‘The Heiress’, the eleventh episode of ‘The Mandalorian’ – or the third episode of the second season, which comes to be the same thing – which it also shares with ‘Sanctuary’ introducing a female character to take arms. If in the fourth chapter it was Cara Dune, this time it was Katee Sackhoff’s Bo-Katan Kryze, who has made the leap from animation to live-action from the hand of Bryce Dallas Howard with equal fortune that has heroine Gina Carano.
There is no doubt that ‘The Heiress’ is an exercise in which Howard has reaffirmed his knack for shaping set pieces, and in which eye-catching and intensity share weight on the scale; abandoning in this case the more “traditional” style of battle in form and content of ‘Sanctuary’ to gain verticality and enter the dynamics of jetpacks, impossible follow-ups and frenetic flights inherited from Dave Filloni’s ‘The Clone Wars’ – writer and executive producer on ‘The Mandalorian’ -, in a pirate key.
Also, good Bryce has raised even more the levels of tenderness in his second galactic journey, imbibing him with magic with some beautiful shots —the hatching of the egg with the Child looking through the container is for framing—, and with scenes as warm as the reunion between the long-suffering Frog Lady —as it appears in the titles credit the giant salamander luck – and her husband; A passage that, I must admit, has especially struck a chord with me without the need for artifice.
The film division of ‘Star Wars’ could – and should – find a new and necessary direction, and flee from a more than possible attrition, taking advantage of the point of view and concerns that a woman in command would offer; and it never ceases to amaze that, with his short career, Bryce Dallas Howard is posited as the great disturbance in the Force capable of taking the saga to unexplored territories beyond the Outer Rim..