Monday, July 9, 2012
YEAR 1977: PRINCESS LEIA
There had been tough space-opera females long before STAR WARS, of course, and a few, like THE GOLDEN AMAZON, had their own features. Naturally the mega-success of George Lucas's baby propelled every character in the story into the public's collective unconscious. One might still argue that, both in the film-sequels and in continuations in other media, Luke and Han still tended to get the lion's share of the action. Nevertheless, it's arguable that Leia is far more vital to the mythology than, say, side-characters like Chewbacca and the droids.
Carrie Fisher's sardonic performance does a lot to step up the formidability of Leia in the first film, and it doesn't hurt that (as others before me have commented) that in the battles aboard the Death Star she seems to be the only hero who can hit the targets she's shooting at. She doesn't fare quite as well in THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, but proves herself to possess more than average fighting-skills in RETURN OF THE JEDI, when she avenges the vile objectification forced upon her by Jabba the Hutt by strangling him to death with her own slave-chain.
As for her appearances in other media, I confess I'm only familiar with her appearances in the long-running Marvel STAR WARS comic. She's generally treated as an equal member of the team with the guys and even gets her own adventures on occasion. (I'd call them "solo" adventures but I'm afraid that might prove confusing.)