The big Star Wars rumor of the day is that Disney will be retiring Slave Leia merchandise. Of course everyone assumed I’d be all for this. I’ve been hearing about it all day. Not so fast. First of all, here’s the info. The rumor comes to us from Making Star Wars, who says “Princess Leia’s Slave Leia costume is being retired from the Star Wars IP for merchandise and marketing.” This was confirmed Marvel artist J Scott Campbell on his Facebook page.
I talk about feminism all the time on Legion of Leia. I’ve also been quite clear about my feelings about something being sexual and something being sexualized. Now look, I think we’re all pretty clear on the fact that Princess Leia loses a bit of her agency in the second two films. She also runs a Rebel base, flies the Millennium Falcon as Lando grabs Luke, attempts to rescue Han, threatens Jabba the Hutt with a thermal detonator, manages to get the little furry teddy bear cannibals not to eat her (consider for a moment where that dress they gave her came from) and strangles a huge crime lord to death with her slave chain while in a metal bikini.
The thing for me is this; I grew up with this Leia. I’m not saying I think we should get Daisy Ridley in that outfit. I’m also not saying she has to wear a parka. I just want to see an amazing character, no matter what she wears. I don’t want her dressed up to please whatever sense of pubescent nostalgia some fans of about my age have. I want her to be important, not for what she wears, but for who she is and what she does. However, erasing history isn’t going to make it go away. That costume, as well as the Bespin dress and the metal necklace and the braids and the Hoth system outfit … all of it are part of this character that inspired generations of girls to be strong. Leia is no damsel in distress. She rescues the guys more than they rescue her. She’s a Rebel leader, a Senator and the best shot in the entire film series. We don’t have to pretend history didn’t happen.
That said, please make good toys! That Black Series Slave Leia looks like she’s being chocked to death and suffering from a spinal injury she clearly doesn’t have in the film.
Okay, let the hate mail begin. I’m prepared.