St. Patrick's Day Collection | T-Shirts, Hoodies, Crewnecks, Hats, FlagsSHOP NOW

South Park's 'The Panderverse' Comes True as Disney Proudly Announces They're Finally Getting a Woman Involved in 'Star Wars'

I assume that any adult even remotely interested in Lucasfilm, Marvel, or any other Disney properties has by now seen the number South Park did on the Mouse's approach since Avengers: Endgame. Which is to crank out lazy, half-baked, sloppily made, warmed over remakes of their earlier, greater work and simply race- and gender-swap the protagonists. 

Mainly by taking the hero of familiar movies, and make him some combination of old, broken, bitter, and irrelevant to his own story. One who then needs to be saved by a younger, plucky, all-knowing, stunning and brave Girl Boss. They did it to Luke Skywalker. They did it to Han Solo. They did it to Indiana Jones. Even to Ant-Man's Scott Lang, who's precocious toddler from the first film is now a sassy high schooler who is so brilliant she invented a device that can GPS you around the Quantum realm or some such bullshit. More to the point, she's brash and confident to the point she's unimpressed with the fact her father has saved the fucking world a couple of times. 

Which made Disney a big, slow-moving target that South Park did not miss:

Highlighted by Disney executive Kathleen Kennedy using the Panderstone so much that reality gets split into a multiverse. Which includes not only the boys being replaced by women of color, but a version of Eric Cartman that is Kathleen Kennedy:

Inspiring one of the great catch phrases in the show's 330-episode run:

With all that groundwork laid for context, Disney is proving that life imitates art. Because despite the fact they got skewered so badly in one of the most popular South Parks in the shows 25 years of existence and that all their identity politics has proven to be poison at the box office and their streaming service, they've lost tens of billions, had to shut down the billion dollar Galactic Star Cruiser hotel at Disney World after just one year, and their stock price has tanked so badly they're facing a possible takeover, they're just leaning harder into the "Put a chick in it" trope:

Source - Daisy Ridley‘s Rey is coming back to the big screen in a new “Star Wars” movie directed by Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy (“Ms. Marvel”) and written by Steven Knight (“Peaky Blinders”). The film makes Obaid-Chinoy the first woman and first person of color to direct a “Star Wars” feature film. …

“I’m very thrilled about the project because I feel what we’re about to create is something very special,” Obaid-Chinoy recently told CNN. “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.”                         

I know nothing about Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy or her work. For all I know she could be the next Martin Scorcese and I'll be waiting in line on opening night to see all her future films. Good for her that she's getting this shot. 

But since when has Star Wars been a bastion of male dominance where women played no part? Since when has it taken place in some Sausage Galaxy with a "NO CHICKS ALLOWED" sign nailed to the outer rim? And am I mistaken, or is Kathleen Kennedy not a female who's been running the entire operation for years and years now?

The franchise was launched in 1977. And introduced the world to one of the singularly great female heroes in action movie history in Leia. Plus the leader of the Rebel Alliance commanding the mission to (spoiler) destroy the Death Star was a woman. The prequels two decades later starred Leia's mother, Amidala. Both were royalty, rulers in their home planets, and one was an ambassador and the other a senator. More to the point, neither of them ever backed down from a fight in the face of galactic evil. Followed of course, by Rey in the sequel trilogy, who was written as a flawless Mary Sue who didn't need Luke's years of training to become the most powerful Jedi in the Order. She just needed a lightsaber and she was plug-and-play 1st Team All-Galaxy.

Then there was Jyn Orso, the main protagonist in Rogue One. Which is to most fans' thinking the best of the movies since the original trilogy. More recently, we've had Ashoka Tano, a Jedi who had one of the great story arcs in Star Wars canon, spanning two animated series, before getting her own live action show. Which also featured the two female leads of one of those animated shows, Rebels. Then there was Obi Wan, another Disney property that didn't actual star its titular character, but was bait-and-switched to mostly focus on toddler Princess Leia and a female Sith Lord. 

As a matter of fact, the only female character who's been done dirty by Disney since it bought the rights to Star Wars from George Lucas was the one played by Gina Carano, who got fired after one season of The Mandalorian because of some Tweets. Kennedy's love of using the IPs she was put in charge of to promote strong females has its limits.

But those limits don't extend to Rey, because Kennedy is giving fans the sequel no one wanted. One with her as the central figure. A bland, shallow, one-note character with an arc flat enough to use as a bookshelf. With no flaws except not realizing how special she truly is. Rey has barely ever sold an action figure, a t-shirt or a poster. I've never once seen a girl dress up as her for Halloween. But my own Force-sensitive Irish Rose and I saw a Return of the Jedi performance by the Boston Pops this summer and there were at least a dozen Leia costumes, including the wife of the couple we were with. 

Meaning Disney Star Wars is about to have another financial disaster on their hands. Because they're not about making entertainment with broad appeal for mass audiences. They're about proving women … something something. No matter how many female characters they have, it's still about making some point. Like all the previous ones never existed and this is all something brand new. I don't even know any more what they're trying to say at this point. Maybe it's this:

But I know with absolute clarity what South Park was saying. That the biggest entertainment conglomerate in the world has no new ideas, so they just pander. It's the only play in their playbook. But congratulations on your Rey movie with your first female director. I'm sure it'll be as popular as the last ones.