Star Wars is a franchise that has lived and transcended generations. The cultural phenomenon began way back in 1977 and now, after 40 years, the excitement for this seemingly unending franchise is even stronger. The question is, what was it that made this science-fiction space opera resonate with so many people? Was it the lore of the story, was it the music, was it the characters? I believe there was a collaboration of all of these different aspects but the characters were a huge part of why A New Hope 40 years ago became such a global hit.
You had Luke, the simple farm boy who wanted to explore the stars and follow in the footsteps of his “dead” father. Then there was Obi-Wan “Ben” Kenobi, the wise mentor. You had the rascally Han Solo, a scoundrel at first meeting but a hero at heart.
And finally you have Princess Leia, which this post is dedicated to.
At the time of A New Hope princesses were usually thought of as damsels in distress that needed rescuing . Princess Leia rewrote that narrative. Princess Leia didn’t run screaming from the stormtroopers, she shot at them. Princess Leia didn’t whimper in the face of Darth Vader, she patronized him. She did the exact opposite of nearly everything that was expected, except fall for the “prince” which in this case would be Luke Skywalker.
She was one of the pioneers of all the strong women you have in film today. Throughout A New Hope she never played the role of damsel in distress. And yes, she was rescued, but she didn’t treat her rescuers like they were “her heroes.” She instead told them off for not coming up with a better escape plan. Ha! I love it. 🙂