Still from Return of the Jedi (1983). Image is a screengrab via 20th Century Fox/Lucasfilm
15. All the times she kept up with the boys
If she sees Luke and Han running into danger, she grabs her blaster and runs right after them. No blizzard, alien life, or army can deter her. In A New Hope, she’s so willing to spring to action that she goes completely rogue at the top of the film. Leia is a “big-picture” kind of girl, and it seems as if her life is less valuable than the cause of the Rebel Alliance.
Also, throughout the original Star Wars trilogy, she is decidedly unemotional. Not like she is bottling her emotions, but just because she’s always thinking two steps ahead of everyone else. There’s no time to get upset about a botched plan, there must be another way out. In The Empire Strikes Back, she once again is confronted with the issue of effectively distributing her manpower during the Imperial Walkers attack on Hoth. She drives the plan forward while evacuating residents, exhibiting grace under extreme pressure (not to mention the constant doubt coming from the men all around her).
I think it’s safe to say that not once in this trilogy does she have a moment where she has to stop the action and give way to overwhelming thoughts and feelings. She’s this great symbol of carrying on in the face of adversity. In some instances, she’s even the one saving the guys (looking at Han again).