Black Star Wars: Rick Famuyiwa

The intent of Black Star Wars is to celebrate the accomplishments and achievements of black artists within the realm of Star Wars. As we aren’t in the financial position to contribute yet, we are doing our part to celebrate and amplify black voices.

Rick Famuyiwa is a director, producer, and screenwriter. He got his start is directing the short Blacktop Lingo in 1996. Famuyiwa’s career has spanned over 20 years, in that time he has worked on several different productions including The Wood, Brown Sugar, and Dope. Most of his experience comes from the independent film world. In the Star Wars Universe, he is known for directing, writing, and acting in the hit Disney Plus series The Mandalorian. 

Star Wars Character

Jib Dodger

Jib Dodger served as a pilot in the New Republic’s Starfighter Corps after the Battle of Endor. Dodger was assigned to a flight squadron whose job it was to respond to active Republic tracking beacons and track them down. One of these beacons was activated by some mercenaries attempting to rescue a Twi’lek prisoner named Qin. The mercenaries were led by the now famous bounty hunter only known as The Mandalorian. Rick Famuyiwa’s appearance on The Mandalorian was brief but his character Jib Dodger is now cemented in Star Wars canon. 

Rick Famuyiwa as Jib Dodger

Famuyiwa not only played the role of Jib Dodger in Chapter 6 of The Mandalorian, but he also wrote and directed it. He is a jack of all trades when it comes to creating a TV or film experience. As revealed in the new series Disney Gallery: Star Wars The Mandalorian, Famuyiwa was instrumental when it came to using pre-vis (pre-visualization) and MVN suits, full-body motion capture suit, during the filming of his episode.

These suits are typically used for the production of video games. By the end of filming Rick Famuyiwa was working closely with stunt people using MVN suits to coordinate all the fight sequences in his episode. He was part of a team that created a process that allowed pre-vis to be made on the fly. The process they developed has now become the standard for filming season 2. 

Career Outside of Star Wars

Rick Famuyiwa’s career has mostly been spent in the independent film space. His first feature film, The Wood is a semi-autobiographical account of his upbringing in Inglewood, CA. Famuyiwa wanted his first film to be reflective of his family and his friends. Rick and his family had moved to Inglewood while he was in junior high and The Wood, which Famuyiwa wrote and directed, showcases select experiences he had with his close friends and family.

In 2016, Famuyiwa slated to direct The Flash movie but ended up parting ways with the studio over creative differences. The movie, which is to star Ezra Miller as Barry Allen, the Fastest Man Alive, was in preproduction as it headed toward a March 2017 start date with a release date of March 16, 2018. But since then after a series of more delays, the film isn’t scheduled to be released until 2022

In 2015, Famuyiwa directed, wrote, and produced the comedy-drama coming-of-age film Dope. Which starred Forest Whitaker and Nina Yang Bongiovi. In the film, life changes for Malcolm, a geek who’s surviving life in a tough neighborhood, after a chance invitation to an underground party leads him and his friends into a Los Angeles adventure. Dope received positive reviews from critics, earned Famuyiwa recognition as a smart insightful director, won the Best Editing award for the work of editor Lee Haugen at the Sundance Film Festival.

Legacy

In 2003, Famuyiwa served on a panel of directors for a discussion conducted by the Directors Guild of America African American Steering Committee. In the panel, African American directors discussed the challenges and opportunities faced by African American directors in the cinema industry. 

Famuyiwa was able to reflect on his own experiences of securing funding and support for his films, Famuyiwa believes that there are still many stereotypes and barriers to break down in the industry. While working on The Wood, Famuyiwa experienced difficulties in securing the kind of support he would need to make the film a box office hit. He believes it is difficult for African Americans to be accredited with the respect they deserve in the film industry. 

Rick Famuyiwa has broken down barriers and is taking big strides for African American film industry workers. As a result, of the success of The Mandalorian he is has been asked to work on upcoming major studio projects. He was asked to direct an episode of the new Disney Plus Cassian Andor series but had to turn it down due to working on The Mandalorian season 2. He is expected to direct Past Midnight for Netflix and The Russo Brothers which will star Keanu Reeves as a superhero.

At Edge of the Galaxy, we fully support the #BlackLivesMatter campaign. If you are able, please donate to the cause. For more information, visit BlackLivesMatter.com today.

Lindsey Soucie
Lindsey is a new fan of Star Wars, but since watching all of the movies and visiting Galaxy’s Edge frequently she has become a huge fan. Her favorite character is Darth Vader, and her favorite piece of Star Wars is Rogue One.

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