How Gillian Jacobs Switched From Marvel To Lucasfilm For Her Disney+ Documentary More Than Robots

Don’t feel bad if you know Gillian Jacobs primarily through her acting work. Whether it’s the confrontational Britta Perry of Communityhalf of the Netflix series Love Where his role in the hit series GirlsJacobs has been creating memorable on-screen characters for years. Gradually, however, Jacobs moved behind the camera for directorial endeavors, primarily in documentary series and the realm of filmmaking, where you can find her for the exceptional and inspiring work. Disney+ documentary More than robots.

The film recently premiered at the South By Southwest Film Festival in Austin – a program characterized by its combination of film and technology (making it the perfect place to More than robots) – and it was during this pit stop that producer Jason Sterman walked us through his and Jacobs’ journey from Marvel to Lucasfilm and ultimately to the tight-knit community of 2020 First Robotics Contest entrants. Here’s how Sterman explained to CinemaBlend during an exclusive chat:

Gillian and I have worked together in the past. We were doing a project that she was directing, which we were producing for Marvel, which was the Marvel 616 series. We were producing the whole series. Gillian directed the Women of Marvel episode (titled Higher, Further, Faster). … It was our starting point to work with one of the Disney brands. We have a global agreement with Disney+. We have worked with each of the brands. We went around and introduced ourselves, and tried to figure out what works for non-fiction for each of them.

This led Gillian Jacobs and Jason Sterman to Lucasfilm. Jacobs has a long history and keen interest in STEM, which stands for science, technology, engineering, and math. She hosted the podcast If so which was devoted to conversations with experts in the STEM field. She even hosted a lunch for STEM at the Obama White House. As she was looking for her next project after the unscripted series Wonder 616she wanted to explore stories in the STEM world and discovered that Lucasfilm was going to be a brand sponsor for the first robotics competition of 2020. The fates aligned and Jacobs was gone and on the run.

More than robots

(Image credit: Lucasfilm)

Jason Sterman told us:

Lucasfilm was great because they tied it in, obviously, with First, and First jumped at the chance to say, “Film whatever you want.” Because nobody really made a movie like that. So that will obviously only help to share that kind of community and message.

The concept of supporting programs like STEM and competitions like the one captured in More than robots has an effect on the spectators, as well as on the people who collaborated closely in the making of the documentary. According to Sterman:

There’s someone on the post-delivery side of Lucasfilm who said, “I watched the movie”…because they have to deliver it. And he said to me, ‘I didn’t realize that I could create a team here!’ And (now) they’re going to put together a team. It has this impact that people want to help in some way. Even if you know that (First Robotics) exists, you can share it with other people. If you have a kid who doesn’t play a traditional sport and a lot of parents struggle with that, it gives you that kind of other alternative.

More than robotsdirected by Gillian Jacobs, reminds me of the spectacular documentary Bewitched, in that it focuses on a handful of young students, along with their teams and families, to explain what drives these sharp minds as they head into a global robotics competition. It’s heartwarming and inspiring, and continues to prove that Jacobs is a talented filmmaker on the rise. In my opinion, More Than Robots is one of the best Disney+ movies available on the streaming service at the moment, so make sure your Disney+ subscription is up to date and watch it with your family tonight. Also, keep track of all upcoming disney movies coming to theaters and streaming by the end of the year.

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