There is no denying the lack of women featured in the Star Wars Original Trilogy. It’s a rough number for those who have counted. Three. Just three. Thankfully the Expanded Universe decided to change that for the better, but honestly as a kid watching those holiest of films, I never truly realized just how drastic the gap was. Three ladies is certainly not enough, but when one of those women is Princess Leia, things aren’t as bad as they could be. Here’s why:
Level of Bossness Tier 1: Leia never gives up.
When her ship, the Tantive IV, was being tractor beamed into a Star Destroyer at the start of A New Hope, what was Leia doing? She was making sure that her message to Obi-Wan got through in R2-D2. When she watched the love of her life get frozen in carbonite, where was Leia? Charging toward Boba Fett’s ship to try and save him. When she was shot and cornered while attempting to bring down the Death Star’s shield on Endor, how did Leia react? She thought on her feet, and literally blasted herself out of the situation.
Adversity is necessary for any hero in a script, but Leia always met that adversity head on. It’s like those challenges were just speed bumps she needed to slow down to go over. And of course, she couldn’t possibly solve every problem alone, but some smart thinking on her own accord saved her and her friends on numerous occasions.
Level of Bossness Tier 2: Leia’s not afraid to stand up to… anyone.
Tell me you weren’t impressed when Leia and Tarkin interacted for the first time. Here is a dude that looks like the Grim Reaper, who is so high on the Imperial spectrum he’s accused of holding Vader’s leash, and she insults him to his face. Not only that, after Tarkin quips that he’s signed her death sentence, Leia calls him a coward, in front of everyone. I’m surprised we didn’t hear some stormtrooper sniveling in the background. And I’ll never forget the moment she looked Han Solo in the eye and told him, “I don’t care who you are or where you came from, but from now on you do as I tell you. Okay?”
Coming to us in A New Hope, both of those moments set the stage for who Leia was as a character. She wasn’t afraid to fight for what she believes in, especially when she was right. Watching her go verbally toe-to-toe with two guys in positions of relative power, was just as awesome as any action sequence.
Level of Bossness Tier 3: Leia fights for herself.
On a related note, Leia was a queen of action sequences. There was that time… those few times, she leveled approaching stormtroopers (“Somebody has to save our skins!”), When Leia was Jabba’s infamous slave girl, she didn’t leave the sail barge until she choked that fat Hutt to death. Even when Han Solo cockily insinuated that there was some romantic tension between them in the south passage, Leia shut him down real quick.
As much as I love seeing women like Marvel’s Black Widow getting their share of on on-screen kickassery, Leia was character who proved that you didn’t necessarily need to win in a fistfight in order to be a strong woman, though knowing how to fire a blaster certainly didn’t hurt.
I followed Leia throughout the old Expanded Universe, and Marvel is going to have to tough act to follow chronicling her for the New Canon, but I’m excited to see what adventures they take her on. A character that shows persistence, courage, and toughness the way Leia did is a strong role model for anyone: girl or boy, man or woman. There is a reason she’s so beloved.
Although she may be just one of a few ladies highlighted in the Original Trilogy Leia’s certainly a princess you don’t want to mess with, and she’s certainly one woman enough for me.