Study Guide

Star Wars: Return of the Jedi Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher)

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Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher)

Leia isn't your average princess. In fact, in Return of the Jedi she's a full-fledged action star. Nobody's taking her to another castle.

That Bikini

Let's cut to the chase and address the golden elephant in the room: Leia's slave girl bikini. If your first reaction to Leia's revealing attire was something along the lines of, "Oh, great! We finally get a major female character, and she's basically naked. Way to set feminism back a hundred light years, Star Wars," that's understandable.

Here's the thing, though: Leia's skimpy wardrobe isn't as important as her reaction to it is. Not only does she hate it, she ultimately uses it as a weapon. When Luke starts his attack on Jabba's sail barge, Leia springs into action and promptly uses the chain around her neck to choke Jabba out. In other words, she uses Jabba's attempt at objectification as a weapon. Then she helps blow up his sail barge for good measure.

You Love Her? She Knows.

In Return of the Jedi, Leia fights right alongside the guys. She doesn't need Luke to rescue her on Jabba's sail barge; she rescues herself. She doesn't need Han to save her, either. In fact, she saves him—not once, but twice: first, when she infiltrates Jabba's palace disguised as a bounty hunter and unfreezes him and then later, on Endor, when she shoots the stormtrooper looming over Han's shoulder at the shield bunker.

"I love you," Han says, spotting Leia's gun. "I know," she replies in a clever role reversal that harkens back to Star Wars' previous chapter.

She may hail from a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, but Leia is a thoroughly modern princess. She trusts her gut, she packs heat, and she holds her own. She's valued, trusted, and respected by her male counterparts. Oh yeah: she's got a little bit of the Force in her:

LUKE: If I don't make it back, you're the only hope for the Alliance.

LEIA: Luke, don't talk that way. You have a power I don't understand and could never have.

LUKE: You're wrong, Leia. You have that power, too. In time, you'll learn to use it as I have. The Force is strong in my family. My father has it. I have it. And my sister has it. Yes. It's you, Leia.

LEIA: I know. Somehow, I've always known.

Ultimately, Leia proves that it's possible for a princess to retain her self-possession and femininity—and still kick some major butt, Jedi-knight-in-training-style.

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