What female Star Wars fan didn’t grow up wanting to be Princess Leia? She was a leader, a fighter, a politician, a friend, a lover, a badass. For a series that was otherwise incredibly cock-heavy, and following the cast announcement for Star Wars VII that looks to be unchanging, I think it is important that we reflect on just how awesome Leia is. While Luke was busy whining, head in the clouds, and Han was preoccupied with getting a reward, Leia was focused on the goal: overthrowing the Empire. There’s nothing more noble than fighting for the underdog. Leia, I salute you.
1) ‘Governor Tarkin, I should have expected to find you holding Vader’s leash. I recognized your foul stench when I was brought on board.’
Let’s face it, this entire exchange is pure brilliance. Not only is the power dynamic between Vader and Tarkin interesting, with Leia in the middle (and I do mean physically in the middle, back up against Vader’s shiny chest), you have to wonder who truly is the scariest man in the room. Leia proves that she is amazing at giving insults and leaves us with one of the most profound quotes of the film, ‘The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers.’
2) Never betray the cause.
In the face of having her home planet blown up, she still doesn’t betray the Rebellion. Instead, she gives Grand Moff Tarkin the location of an old Rebel base, Dantooine. This is a seriously gutsy move on her part. But she taught us all a very valuable lesson. Never, ever, betray the cause. No matter the personal cost.
3) ‘Someone has to save our skins. Into the garbage chute, fly boy.’
Luke and Han ploughed ahead in their attempt to rescue Leia without thinking it through (such a boy thing to do). No wonder Leia was so incredulous to discover that they attempted to rescue her without a plan for getting out. Well, she soon sorted that out, and found them an incredible smell to go with it. When the boys can’t win the day with braun, the women will step up and win it with brains.
4) Never hesitate to take command.
Leia may have been the one that needed rescuing, but it didn’t take her long to realise someone needed to take charge of the situation. She has very little patience for Han’s recklessness and puts him in his place: ‘I don’t know who you are or where you came from, but from now on you’ll do as I tell you, okay?’
5) ‘Why, you stuck up, half-witted, scruffy-looking Nerf herder.’
Leia further schools us in how to stand up for yourself and deliver killer insults. Never take any shit from men, girls. If they give it, you give it right back!
6) Being part of a team means mucking in.
When the gang face trouble, caught between an Imperial Fleet and an asteroid field, Leia chips in along with the rest. That’s right, girls, sometimes you have to get your hands dirty. And who knew a princess could be so mechanically handy?! Also, the ‘dirty hands’ thing apparently turns Han Solo on…
7) Never hesitate to take command, part 2.
At the end of The Empire Strikes Back, Han has been frozen in carbonite and Luke is hanging on for dear life beneath Bespin while Leia, Chewie, and Lando escape on the Millennium Falcon. The ship used to belong to Lando before he lost it betting with Han and until a few minutes ago, he ran an entire colony. Now that they’re on the ship, however, Leia leaves him no room to mistake who is in charge: she is. And good for her. Any weaker woman might have deferred to the man, but not Leia.
8) How to kill a crime lord in a bikini.
The rescue operation for Han turns into chaos as Luke, Han, and Chewie are sentenced to a long, traumatic death inside the Sarlacc pit. While the focus is on Luke being a Jedi badass, you may have missed the fact that Leia manages to kill *the* crime lord of Tatooine while wearing an incredibly tiny bikini. Credit where credit’s due people. Jabba has been a menace since Leia’s parent’s time. Let’s put this into a context you might comprehend a little better… Imagine the top dog in the mafia being taken down a skimpily-clad woman in chains? That’s impressive (most impressive)!
9) A hero jumps to action.
After they have landed on Endor, the team encounters a few Stormtroopers. I’m sure Han meant well with his whole ‘we’ll do it real quiet-like’, but things don’t go to plan. Two more Stormtroopers show up, shooting off on their speeder bikes. Without thought for her own safety, Leia sees that their entire plan may be at risk, and immediately chases after them. It isn’t even really about being brave, it is more about doing what needs to be done. Leia isn’t concerned with her welfare, but again, she places the needs of the cause above everything else.
10) Keep fighting, no matter what.
During the battle of Endor, as Han makes his poor attempt to hot wire the back door to the shield generator, Leia takes a hit to the shoulder. Wounded, she still manages to save Han from Stormtroopers that have snuck up behind him. And what does she get in return? The man she loves finally tells her he loves her. Save a man’s life and he’s yours.