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Michelle Rejwan began her career as an assistant and worked her way up through the ranks to become a producer on this year’s Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Now her ascent has reached an even higher peak: Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy has hired Rejwan as the Senior Vice President of Live Action Production and Development at the company.

Deadline brings word of Rejwan’s hiring, which marks another step in the right direction for Lucasfilm as the company puts another talented woman in a key position of power. (Perhaps she’ll be able to expand the directing pools for future Star Wars movies?) In her new position, she “will oversee a new slate of feature films and episodic series for Lucasfilm and Disney+ and continue to produce with Kennedy as [the] Star Wars franchise is built out.”

Rejwan started out as a casting assistant to the great casting director Allison Jones before becoming an assistant to Jeff Garlin (Curb Your Enthusiasm) and ultimately J.J. Abrams. At Abrams’ Bad Robot Productions, Rejwan became an associate producer on Super 8 and then a co-producer on Star Trek Into Darkness and Star Wars: The Force Awakens before graduating to full producer status on the final entry in the Skywalker saga.

Kennedy released a statement praising Rejwan’s ability to tackle productions as huge and complex as the ones the Star Wars universe necessitates:

“Working with Michelle over the last seven years as a producer on both The Force Awakens and now The Rise of Skywalker, I have seen first-hand her skills collaborating with writers and directors, and I’ve been incredibly impressed with her creative skills and her ability to manage the complexity surrounding these massive projects. I know the importance of building a team that you trust and have fun working with – it is paramount to our success. There’s an exciting momentum building around the future of the franchise, and both myself and the Lucasfilm team look forward to working with Michelle in shaping the future in all areas of story development, from theatrical film development to live action content for Disney+.”

Lucasfilm has put women in leadership positions before – Kennedy herself at the top of the food chain, Bryce Dallas Howard is directing an episode of the Disney+ series The Mandalorian, and Kiri Hart was the Lucasfilm story group development lead before she left the company – but it’s been all too rare. Representation behind the scenes is just as important as it is in front of the camera, and hopefully Rejwan can facilitate more women and people of color coming in to open up the Star Wars universe to different perspectives, which could result in new types of stories we haven’t yet seen in a galaxy far, far away.

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