From A New Hope (1977). Image is a screengrab via 20th Century Fox/Lucasfilm
Today is the fortieth anniversary of the very first Star Wars movie, Episode IV: A New Hope. In 1977, the world was introduced to Princess Leia, portrayed by the late Carrie Fisher.
In a lot of ways, Princess Leia was the first modern feminist heroine. She defends herself, expects no help from her male counterparts, and serves a much greater purpose besides as a love interest to a leading man. Leia is the face of the Rebellion, and nowadays is co-opted as a symbol of The Resistance in our current political climate.
As a kid watching Star Wars, the impact of such an involved, active female lead didn’t affect me as it does now. Certainly I loved her, and I appreciated that she could keep up with the boys, but as I revisit the original trilogy as an adult, I’m struck by how much adversity Leia overcomes. Aside from being manhandled and thrown around by storm troopers and Empire goons, she is constantly deflecting doubt from her own allies. Sure, Han, Luke and Chewie are always looking out for her best interests, but in a lot of ways they try to protect her by holding her back from the action, when in fact she’s more than capable and willing to jump right into the middle and defend her cause.
Today, we celebrate 20 of Leia’s best and bravest moments throughout the original Star Wars trilogy. Here’s to you, Your Worship!