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Why Leigh Brackett’s Contribution to Star Wars Has to be Erased

It’s Leigh Brackett’s 100th birthday. Blogs like According to Hoyt and Castalia House are celebrating by posting pieces exploring just how awesome her contribution to science fiction really is. It’s unclear how many web sites are going to follow suit, but the mainstream is developing a rather disappointing trend on this topic.

Here, for instance is the old narrative, courtesy of IO9:

Leigh Brackett wrote the first script draft of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, and her contributions helped make the saga epic.

Today, 100 years after Bracket’s birth, We’ve Got This Covered posts this:

Writers of Star Wars, historically, have included George Lucas, Lawrence Kasdan, Jonathan Hales, J.J. Abrams and Michael Arndt – all men. Leigh Brackett – a woman – did work on a script for The Empire Strikes Back, but she died and her work was apparently discarded. Future Star Wars writers, already hired, include Rian Johnson, Gary Whitta, Chris Weitz and Jon Kasdan. Another testosterone drenched category.

Yesterday, Heyuguys posted this:

Could that have a female director at the helm? The franchise has always been something of a boys club; Leigh Brackett initially worked on The Empire Strikes Back, but her screenplay was discarded shortly after her death, and despite the fact that Carrie Fisher was asked to take a look at The Phantom Menace’s script, she was never actually credited for doing so.

A few days ago on December 4th, COMINGSOON.net ran with this:

Despite the presence of powerful female characters such as Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher), Padme Amidala (Natalie Portman) and now The Force Awakens headliner Rey (Daisy Ridley), the writers and directors on all the Star Wars films – both past and future – have been a veritable boys club. Fisher is known to have done uncredited polish work on the Phantom Menace script, yet the lone credited female screenwriter who worked on one, The Empire Strikes Back‘s Leigh Brackett, died after completing a first draft, which was discarded. All that may change soon, however, as Los Angeles Times reports that after a two-day summit held by Women in Film and the Sundance Institute to address the gender gap in Hollywood, Adriana Alberghetti (an agent and partner at power agency William Morris Endeavor) managed to procure meetings for four female directors and three female writers with an eye towards upcoming Star Wars movies.

This stuff is representative of what anyone doing a Google news search on Leigh Brackett is going to come across at the moment. What’s up with this poorly timed revision to the narrative…? Well I think it’s pretty clear. The crowning achievement of one of the leading lights of space opera has to be erased so that the push for a “woman” script writer or director in the new Star Wars can be made to appear just that much more urgent.

Happy Birthday, Leigh.

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11 responses to “Why Leigh Brackett’s Contribution to Star Wars Has to be Erased

  1. Cirsova December 7, 2015 at 2:35 pm

    The buried lede in the Coming Soon article: Women are not directing Star Wars because none of them wanted to.

    “I had not had one single phone call from a woman telling me that she really, really wants to direct a ‘Star Wars’ movie. They need to be the ones picking up the phone and saying, ‘Hey, let me tell you what ‘Star Wars’ means to me and how much I could do with it.’”

  2. Pingback: Happy Birthday Leigh Brackett | Cirsova

  3. Charlie Warren December 7, 2015 at 3:21 pm

    All in the name of “fairness, equality, and inclusion” they will claim! They call for the next regeneration of The Doctor to be a woman. They cry out about people cosplaying Drow at GenCon claiming it is “black face”. They call for the next James Bond to be gay or black. They want the next portrayal of Kirk and Spock to be as “gay lovers” and insist that Sam and Frodo were just that the entire time. I’m calling BULLSHIT on all of it! Why alter an existing character that has never been portrayed in the manner these people wish them to be shown? What’s wrong with making strong female, black, lesbian, bisexual, Asian, etc. characters and growing a fan base with interesting stories? Because that takes Tim and effort. Blade (as portrayed in the movies, never read the comics) is awesome and I love those movies. As far as I know, he was never “white” and magically transformed into a “black guy” BUT the character is COOL. All of tho PC stuff needs to stop. Since Wonder Woman is appearing in the Dawn of Justice movie mean that there will be cries for that character to be portrayed by a man the next time?

    I’m sure people will bring the thunder over tho but enough is enough. I would rather read about original characters of whatever race, culture, sexual leaning, etc. than just instantly change one because “it’s time”.

  4. malcolmthecynic December 7, 2015 at 11:19 pm

    See, I read Tom Simon’s Star Wars article, and so my impression was that Leigh Brackett’s first draft was never discarded. It was just used as the bones for better and better re-writes, none of which would have been any good if not for Brackett’s brilliant first script.

    “Discarded” is a weasel word. All it means is that it wasn’t the final draft.

    The article: http://bondwine.com/2013/03/12/creative-discomfort-and-star-wars/

  5. Pingback: Scenes from Leigh Brackett’s Star Wars Script That Weren’t “Discarded” | Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog

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  7. Pingback: They Really Are Incapable of Getting Leigh Brackett Right | Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog

  8. Rp April 7, 2017 at 11:37 pm

    They did the same thing with both Rey and Jyn, packaging them as firsts in terms of strong women in a scifi film. I guess they’re eager for us to also forget good ol’ Sheeba from 70’s Battlestar Galactica: http://www.sitcomsonline.com/photopost/data/2019/bsg5.jpg

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