Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy Makes History as First Woman To Direct a “Star Wars” Film

Obaid-Chinoy’s untitled and undated film will follow Rey Skywalker (Daisy Ridley) and her attempts to rebuild the Jedi Order 15 years after the last mainline installment in the franchise, "The Rise of Skywalker."

Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy Makes History as First Woman To Direct a “Star Wars” Film
Obaid-Chinoy has won Oscars for her documentary work. She's about to reach new audiences with her upcoming work in the "Star Wars" universe. Photo source: Obaid-Chinoy’s Instagram

“Star Wars” director Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy recently expressed excitement about directing an untitled sequel starring Daisy Ridley, marking the first time a woman will direct a “Star Wars” film in its nearly 50-year history.

Obaid-Chinoy is a Pakistani filmmaker, journalist and activist known for her work in documentary filmmaking. She has gained international recognition for her contributions to social issues through her films, including winning two Academy Awards for Best Documentary (Short Subject). Obaid-Chinoy received her first Oscar in 2012 for the documentary "Saving Face" (2012), which highlights the issue of acid attacks on women in Pakistan. In 2016, she won her second Oscar for "A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness" (2015), which addresses honor killings in Pakistan. Now, Obaid-Chinoy is set to make history as the first woman to direct a “Star Wars” film, continuing her impact in the world of cinema.

Obaid-Chinoy’s untitled and undated film will follow Rey Skywalker (Ridley) and her attempts to rebuild the Jedi Order 15 years after the last mainline installment in the franchise, "Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker" (2019).

The original “Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope” premiered in 1977 and was directed by franchise creator George Lucas. Notable directors in subsequent films include J.J. Abrams, Gareth Edwards, Ron Howard and Rian Johnson. The franchise has upcoming films planned from "The Mandalorian" (2019–) executive producer Dave Filoni, James Mangold, director of the Lucas-inspired property "Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny" (2023), and Taika Waititi, who collaborated with Disney on the most recent two films in the “Thor” franchise of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This means that, at this time, Obaid-Chinoy is the first and only woman planned to direct a “Star Wars” film.

“I’m very thrilled about the project because I feel what we’re about to create is something very special," Obaid-Chinoy told CNN in a recent interview. "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."

Little is known about the project, though Ridley told Collider in November 2023 that it's a "really cool" film that isn't at all what she expected. "I haven’t read anything, but I know the story," she said at the time. "It’s really worth telling — worth exploring — and I think people will be excited."

Though the film was announced at "Star Wars" Celebration 2023 on April 7 2023, Ridley said she hadn’t been approached about the role until months prior in February of the same year.

Despite Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy's claim that the film is in advanced development, a specific premiere date for Obaid-Chinoy’s upcoming “Star Wars” film remains unannounced.

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