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.