Tag Archives: star wars

The Unsung Hero of ‘Star Wars’


Nearly everything I knew about ‘Star Wars’ is changing (thanks to the old cannon being summarily delegitimatized) so I thought I’d go back and start with Episode I: The Phantom Menace. The official, unchangeable canon is not my favorite part of the canon, so I’m not going to lie… this was the first time I had watched it since it came out in theater sixteen years ago.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that if I go cook my dinner during most of the Annakin scenes, I actually like this movie quite a bit. I also realized while watching it that I had my heroes in ‘Star Wars’ all wrong.

Well, not really. My heroes are still my heroes, even if it means I have to file Kit Fisto  under the-most-disappointing-death-of-all-time. I mean, come on. That dude takes on General Grievous, but gets killed three seconds into a 4-1 fight against Palapatine? Seriously, Fisto? I believed in you…

Just look at this cheeky motherfucker...
Just look at this cheeky motherfucker… How could you not love him?

If a look past most of the gross things that fanon does to Leia, she tops my list of heroes too. Same thing for Padmé. And of course, you’ll never find a bigger Obi-Wan trash than me. I’m such trash that I even read the Jedi Apprentice series (which should be called the Qui-Gon-Jin-is-a-bit-of-a-dick series), and those books are at a seventh grade reading level. I did it for Obi-Wan, I would do it again, and I will not be ashamed. Too bad (or maybe thankfully) they aren’t probably canon anymore…. but I digress…

As I rewatched The Phantom Menace, I discovered there is a character I admire even more than those four. She is literally at the very center of the movieand plays crucial roles in fighting against Palapatine. In fact, she’s in the movie almost as much as Padmé.

Yet we never talk to about her at all.

I’m of course talking about the decoy queen, Sabé, who fakes out the Viceroy in the middle of a goddamn war.

Sabeandpadme
“Okay… so, I’ll probably die doing this….”

I’m not sure why we forget about Sabé. Perhaps it’s because she looks so similar to Padme, and mimics her throughout the film. After all, we are never sure who is who for the majority of the movie, so you wouldn’t realize it was a different person until you rewatched it.

But still, why do we forget about Sabé?

She is forced into the most dangerous position: to pretend being a queen on the run who has to make command decisions while protecting the real queen. She not only has to make decisions at Queen Amidala which have unbelievable diplomatic weight, but has to try and interpret what the real Amidala intentions through nonverbal communication, all the while knowing that she is there solely to move the target to her back- that she could be killed at any moment.

Then, if that was not enough, when they retake the palace after the invasion, Sabé willingly puts on the mask of Queen Amidala once again, and distracts their enemies who chase after her. She certainly knew that would likely be her death, and she did it anyway.Thankfully, we see her at the celebration afterward, so we know she survived, but… geez….

How amazing is Sabé that she would continue to risk her life like that without recognition of her efforts?

sabekcikingbutt
Beating the Viceroy while wearing heavy clothes and a headdress. Yeah girl. Get it.

She is truly the real hero of the movie, and I would have loved to read a book completely from her point of view, where she tries to remain stolid while her emotions are certain wrecking her from the inside out. She must have been filled with fear of doing the wrong thing as she does not have Amidala’s ambassadorial experience, or being killed any second. Even more terrifying is the idea that her ruse will be discovered, and her beloved queen will suffer for it as much as she would.

I can imagine a woman in turmoil, feeling embittered that such a burden should fall onto her, but desperate to carry the weight for a leader she loves. Honestly, the more I think about it, the more I realize I care about what she’s thinking and feeling than anyone else in the movie.

Except Obi-Wan Kenobi. But again, I’m Kenobi-trash, so that’s just going to be priority number one anyway. But still, to me in her short amount of screentime, I feel she is more complicated, and interesting than Annakin’s desire for power, or Qui-Gon Jinn’s… what was his motivation again? Just be a good jedi? Ugh, boring.

So…. Disney? Can we have a book about her, please? I’ll volunteer as tribute if you need someone to write it.

 

 


The Problem with Slave Leia


slave-princess-leia

I get asked a lot about why I have a problem with Slave Leia, so I thought I’d write out a nice little treatise on the subject. The truth of the matter is that I don’t have a problem with Slave Leia. I have a problem with the fans perception of her.

Slave Leia, stripped of her power, chained to a tyrannical Jabba half-naked and miserable, is a dirty, and disgusting idea. And that’s on purpose. It makes sense in the context of our times and our idea of gender identity. After all, whether it’s other characters or their fans, the ways we constantly take women down for being powerful is to make them belong to someone else. Look at Katniss from The Hunger Games. Despite the fact the story is laced by Katniss’ strong dislike of the romance narrative placed on her when all she cares about is survival, the first thing fans started was “Team Peeta” and “Team Gale” in reference to which character they wanted her to end up with… which is sadly all to like what the Capital did to her. And friendly reminder, the Capital aren’t the good guys.

So if you were going to demean and degrade a woman who is the leader of a rebellion, a woman so bad ass that she’ll impersonate a bounty hunter to go into the bowels of the criminal underground, you would do it by chaining her up and treating her like an object to be owned. That is what someone like Jabba the Hutt would do, and he did.

But Leia –fucking kickass Leia– takes those chains (both metaphorical and literal) and chokes Jabba the Hutt until his smelly rotten corpse goes down with the Sandcrawler.

leia chokes jabba

And I like that. I like that a lot. But I don’t think that’s the context Slave Leia is looked at in fandom. Slave Leia in the fandom is a sex object to fantasize over, not a woman gaining back her power.

So… yeah.. I don’t have a problem with Slave Leia, per se. Slave Leia still has agency. Slave Leia knows the shitty position she’s in, and she waits for her chance. Slave Leia doesn’t let her being slave degrade her into compliance and acceptance of her subjugation.

Slave Leia is not a tool, no matter how much Jabba tries to pigeon her into that.

Slave Leia to fans, however, is a different story. Slave Leia is sexy, and desirable. She’s a fantasy roleplay for Ross in Friends, and men drool over her. The fans don’t see that she was made to dress that way to cheapen and debase her because that’s how we see women as a society anyway.

friends-the-one-with-the-princess-leia-fantasy

 

The hypersexualization of Slave Leia in the fan culture is worrying precisely because it doesn’t recognize why Leia is dressed the way she is, but rather embraces it without questioning the motivations behind Jabba’s choice in wardrobe for her.

Or, rather, the TLDR:

Canon Slave Leia – Purposefully trying to take away power from a strong and independent woman.

Fan Slave Leia – Unintentionally robbing Leia of her agency by making her an sexual object rather than a person in the same way Jabba the Hutt does.