Twitter isn’t always the appropriate platform to speak on the stories and issues that grab my attention so sometimes I’ll put them under a little more focus here in THOUGHTS n’ SHORTS.
This week there was an update on the Star Wars Episode IX behind-the-scenes situation, whilst at DragonCon, a Wynonna Earp cast member answered a question that had been on a lot of people’s minds since the recent season 2 finale.
Cue innumerable ‘the Force is not with you’ jokes
Well, well, well, look what we have here. A month ago, I commented on the news that Disney had hired an additional screen-writer, Jack Thorne, to rework the script that had been produced by director Colin Trevorrow and Derek Connolly for Star Wars Episode IX. I certainly didn’t hold back in my criticism of Trevorrow’s appointment to the project, and the man himself had already been found publicly defending his involvement, telling The Hollywood Reporter: “Not only did I grow up on these stories, like all of us did, [but] I think that the values of Star Wars are values that I hold very close and very dear in my life.” It was a weak defence, and apparently I’m not the only one to think so, considering the latest news.
According to a new statement put out on Tuesday by Lucasfilm, Trevorrow has now been cast out of the director’s chair for this project, with the nature of the departure phrased as “Lucasfilm and Colin Trevorrow have mutually chosen to part ways”. Make of that what you will. The Hollywood Reporter cites sources as remarking that the relationship between Trevorrow and the head of Lucasfilm, Kathleen Kennedy, had grown tense, and there had supposedly been rumours circulating of the director’s departure since before his widely derided The Book of Henry was released in June.
Of course the rumour mill is still in motion as speculation over who will or could replace Trevorrow grows. When Phil Lord and Chris Miller were fired from the Han Solo stand-alone film a few months ago, they were swiftly replaced by Ron Howard, with Lucasfilm and Disney keen to keep the ball rolling during the film’s production. Episode IX is yet to begin principle photography, so the powers that be may take a little longer to announce their new pick for director, though there is already much discussion regarding the prospect of The Last Jedi helmer, Rian Johnson, keeping hold of the reins.
Once again, the conversation on social media has turned toward the possibility of Lucasfilm hiring somebody who is not a white man to direct one of their Star Wars properties – something they seem very reticent to do. Given that, like Trevorrow, Kathleen Kennedy has made disparaging remarks in a vote of no-confidence towards female directors and their presumed ability to work on the franchise, the possibility of a woman being hired for the job seems very unlikely. However, in that same interview Kennedy also told Variety with regards to female directors in the early stages of their careers: “We want to really start to focus in on people we would love to work with and see what kinds of things they’re doing to progress up that ladder now, and then pull them in when the time is right.” We have yet to see Lucasfilm deliver on this sentiment, and frankly now would be a really good time to start. With the hugely successful Wonder Woman, Patty Jenkins has proved that female directors are perfectly capable of handling juggernaut properties – despite what their detractors might say. The myth that women are less competent in this respect has been perpetuated throughout the industry for decades, mostly by men like Trevorrow who claim women have no interest in working on such properties, but sadly also by some women, such as Kathleen Kennedy, who – as one of the most powerful women in Hollywood – should be doing everything within her power to debunk and disrupt this damaging notion.
Wynonna Earp‘s Katherine Barrell addresses Waverly’s kiss with Rosita
When writing about Wynonna Earp recently, I touched on one of the many surprise developments in the show’s wildly entertaining second season: the moment when Waverly (Dominique Provost-Chalkely), struggling with the fallout from a fight with her girlfriend, Nicole (Katherine Barrell), ends up kissing new friend, Rosita, in a hot tub. Though Waverly’s transgression was subsequently mentioned in the following episode, in which she she guiltily reveals all to her sister, Wynonna (Melanie Scrofano), it has not since been acknowledged on the show, though the couple ended the season with their relationship strong as ever and back on stable footing. In writing about the incident, I wondered if it would ever be addressed again in the third season, as – whatever the show’s creatives’ own views on the situation may be – Waverly herself clearly considers her moment of weakness to be an instance of cheating: “I cheated on her. That’s right I’m a cheater. Rosita – I kissed her,” she tells Wynonna, who does not seem to agree that one kiss constitutes as cheating, but is certainly surprised by Rosita’s involvement.
Given how events in the season’s final few episodes escalated, and that the drama quickly moved on from Waverly’s mistake to rather more pressing concerns – e.g. Nicole’s near-death experience, Wynonna’s sudden removal from existence (oh, genre shows, how we love you), Wynonna going into labour, the demon Clootie being raised from the dead – it did not seem like the show was likely to return to processing what was a relatively minor error in the grand scheme of things, yet the question of ‘did Waverly ever tell Nicole?’ was nonetheless a loose end that some of us required closure on.
Fortunately, the cast, and show-runner, Emily Andras, attended DragonCon in Atlanta over the past weekend (September 1st – 4th), and with their appearance following so soon after the season finale, fans unsurprisingly had plenty of questions to ask at the numerous panels held for the SYFY show. At the final panel on Monday, Katherine Barrell was asked whether she thinks Nicole knows about the incident, and what her reaction to being told likely was. Barrell responded:“I think she totally knows. I think Waverly was probably really honest with her, and I think [Nicole] was like ‘honey, it’s okay’.” Amidst laughter from the audience, she continued: “I think Nicole’s in a mature enough place in her life where she knows the difference between … love and lust and a mistake. … I think Nicole is in such a solid, confident place that she understands where [the kiss] would have come from because she knows where Waverly is at.” Apparently satisfied with her cast member’s answer, Emily Andras added, “I love you, Kat.”
Given Barrell and Andras’ comments, it seems safe to assume then that the incident won’t be addressed again within the show’s narrative. Though it is easy to say that there should have been a canon acknowledgement of Nicole’s awareness within the show itself, it is not really surprising that there wasn’t, considering the story’s breakneck pacing. Perhaps partially intending to address this, in the season finale, Waverly, echoing her sister’s words, reminds Nicole that they have agreed to “flushing out secrets”, which prompts Nicole to quickly confide in her the plan she has formulated with Wynonna. Yet the finale revealed that both Wynonna and Nicole appear to still be keeping a few secrets – Wynonna’s regarding her and Waverly’s mother, and Nicole’s in relation to the Cult of Bulshar – and of course the nature of when and how these are revealed to Waverly will no doubt have repercussions on their respective relationships with her, for better or worse. I don’t know about anyone else, but I can’t bleeding wait for next season.