Tag Archives: lady business

THR takes a (brief) look at Lucasfilm’s executive women

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As part of their Women in Entertainment issue, The Hollywood Reporter has an article on how Lucasfilm’s executive team is more than 50% female.

“When you have a balance of men and women, there are all sorts of things that enter into the discussion,” [Kathleen Kennedy] says, calling the Rey-Jyn doubleheader a “coincidence” that the studio (and parent Disney) embraced. “Because women are always in story meetings, [no one has] to go, ‘Hey, what would a woman think?’ ” says creative executive Rayne Roberts. “The reason Rey is strong and technically capable and compassionate and driven is that the women who were in that room, including Kathy, reflect those qualities.”

There’s still work to be done – the lack of women directing is mentioned – but there are worse places to start than at the top. Still, the article is pretty short – wouldn’t it be nice to see a deeper dive on this topic?

NYT highlights female fans of Star Wars

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The New York Times has a feature on female Star Wars fans today, including several familiar names, like Johnamarie Macias of The Wookiee Gunner, Tricia Barr of the podcast Fangirls Going Rogue and Lauren Kell of the Women of Star Wars Tumblr.

It’s all fairly basic info to anyone who’s been hanging around fandom recently – even if you haven’t been around long enough to be classified as a relic. But at the end of the day, what’s old hat to us is still in the New York Times today. And isn’t that something?

And yeah, I probably do need to update that FAQ page. Whoops.

Her Universe acquired by Hot Topic, to continue operating as a stand-alone brand

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Hot Topic has bought “certain assets” of Her Universe from founder Ashley Eckstein and the Araca Group, who have been running the brand since it began.

ashley-ecksteinIn a letter, Eckstein reassures fans that she’ll continue to oversee the company, and that products will continue to be available elsewhere. They’ll keep operating as a stand-alone brand, but the acquisition will allow for more plus sizes and more different kinds of fashion. Eckstein writes:

Your support from day one has been incredible and has meant so much to me! We were able to grow our t-shirt brand into a fashion, entertainment and publishing lifestyle brand in just a few years. However, as we continued to grow, I heard your cries for more and I was often left frustrated that we could not live up to your expectations. I’m beyond excited to share that this new chapter with Hot Topic will allow us to rise to those expectations!

“Ashley and Araca have built an incredible brand with a loyal customer base,” said Steve Vranes, CEO of Hot Topic in a release. “We look forward to supporting Her Universe in this new capacity.”

Both the Her Universe Fashion Show and Her Universe Press will continue. HerUniverse.com will be unavailable for a short time for the transition, but it will be back “in time for the holidays.”

First look: Hasbro’s Maz Kanata action figure

maz-toy-01Entertainment Weekly has revealed Hasbro’s Maz Kanata action figure, which will debut at Toy Fair this weekend.

Sadly, for the established collectors, Maz won’t be available on her own. She’ll be released this spring as part of a “Takodana Encounter” playset along with Rey, BB-8 and Finn, for $19.99. Two female characters in one pack? Hasbro, you’re trying!

The boss: New Kathleen Kennedy profile, and about that slave bikini…

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Vanity Fair has a new interview and profile of Kathleen Kennedy in the wake of The Force Awakens. The most interesting part, perhaps, comes from writer Tony Kushner (Angels in America:)

“She talked about the way in which the conventional approach to these things is that a script starts from an outline, and that’s what everybody focuses on before there’s a word of dialogue.” In Kushner’s recollection, Kennedy was urging the writers to turn their focus to the characters. She kept saying to them, “Who are these people? I don’t know who these people are.” Kushner felt that “she was expressing an impatience about character being secondary to story line, which violated something very essential for her.”

He went on: “We had an interesting conversation about how a lot of playwrights start with outlines because it gives you something to hold on to, but that you know the characters are likely to derail the outline once they start doing what they do.” He and Kennedy talked about how “there’s no telling what will happen once you have invented a person. They may be willing to do what the outline says to do, but they may have very different plans in mind.” The sense Kushner got was that Kennedy “was pushing people to be unafraid of being lost for a while. It was good to see her holding the banner of complexity in the middle of this huge enterprise of Star Wars.” The machines, in other words, have not won.

She also addresses Leia’s slave bikini:

Referring to a notorious scene in Return of the Jedi, I asked Kennedy if she would ever have put Princess Leia in a golden bikini—the famous “slave Leia” costume that is embedded in the collective unconscious of legions of men who were adolescents in the 80s. “With a chain around her neck?,” Kennedy asked, arching an eyebrow and laughing. “I don’t think that would happen.” She quickly added that she didn’t think George Lucas would put her in that bikini today.

Lucas’ wife, Mellody Hobson, on the other hand, says “George is not apologetic about that bikini.” I don’t doubt it.

The article notes that there isn’t a ban on the slave bikini – but I’ve always suspected the real story is that there’ll be less bikini, as opposed to a blanket ban, considering the source of the ‘banning’ brouhaha is a pinup artist.

In any case, you’re going to want to read the whole thing.

Rebels Leia figure coming from Hasbro; New report claims lack of Rey merch guided by Lucasfilm

rebels-leia-hasbroHere’s some good news for fans hungry for more ladies in the toy aisle – There’ll be a Princess Leia figure based on her Rebels appearance from Hasbro. The 3¾ figure will be in stores this fall.

In less happy toy news, there’s a new report that lays the cause of the lack of Rey toys at the feet of Lucasfilm themselves. A purported insider described a January 2015 vendor meeting with the company to the blog Sweatpants and Coffee:

The insider, who was at those meetings, described how initial versions of many of the products presented to Lucasfilm featured Rey prominently. At first, discussions were positive, but as the meetings wore on, one or more individuals raised concerns about the presence of female characters in the Star Wars products. Eventually, the product vendors were specifically directed to exclude the Rey character from all Star Wars-related merchandise, said the insider.

“We know what sells,” the industry insider was told. “No boy wants to be given a product with a female character on it.”

Hasbro is releasing more toys with Rey and other female characters, like Leia, aren’t being left out entirely. (And note that while there are certainly far less Rey items, she wasn’t totally excluded from the first wave of products.) But the report does show there’s a lot of work to be done at every level.