Welcome to Land of The Nerds, where I, Douglas Laman, use my love of cinema to explore, review and talk about every genre of film imaginable!
Tuesday, November 3, 2015
Removal Of Slave Leia From Future Star Wars Merchandise Is News So Good It's Worthy Of A Celebratory Ewok Dance Party
All MRA scumbag mocking aside (which is a lot of fun by the way), the news of future Star Wars toys/posters/comics being unable to utilize the iconic image of Leia in her gold bikini comes via comments made by comic book artist J. Scott Campbell on his Facebook page (thanks to Slashfilm for bringing this news to my attention). He bluntly notes how "You will NOT see future merchandising featuring the slave outfit ever again. Trust me.". To quote one of the most nuanced lines from The Phantom Menace: "Yippee!!"
Slave Leia, of course, is a costume deriving from a scene from Return Of The Jedi where that particular character is held under the control of Jabba The Hutt, which made the relentless merchandising of it always kind of weird to me. Why the hell would you want an image of a woman wearing an outfit that she's being forced to don? She's not putting that bikini on her body of her own free accord, it's a submissive photograph that renders Leia fully in control of whoever is looking at it. Yes, Leia later uses the costume to choke Jabba to death in an act of defiance, but that's not what any of the countless pieces of merchandise depicting Carrie Fisher in this specific costume have shown over the past three decades. I imagine the image of Carrie Fisher choking a massive slug puppet with a chain lacks the kind of sex appeal for companies looking to create ancillary merchandise for a film whose climax involves a bunch of teddy bears dancing and doing cartwheels.
It's also a nice sign that the future could be truly bright for female characters in the world of Star Wars. The prequel trilogy dropped the ball when it came to creating new female characters, with a great actor like Natalie Portman getting little of worth to do in those movies. At least The Clone Wars TV show gave us Ahsoka Tano (who became one of my favorite Star Wars characters after her bizarrely revealing initial outfit and they dropped some of her more childish quirks from her first few appearances), but it's in future Star Wars films where female characters may get a chance to truly shine. The first two new Star Wars movies (The Force Awakens and Rogue One) bot have female protagonists leading the plot, while acclaimed actor Gugu Mbatha-Raw will be a central character of Episode VIII.
Slave Leia is a relic from a different time, a dark time...before the Empire. All tired Obi-Wan jokes aside, it is true that we need to leave that sort of treatment of female characters in that bygone era with the "Special Editions" and Jar-Jar Binks. It's good that future Star Wars merchandise will give characters who just so happen to have two X chromosomes something to do besides poses in a bikini. It's a smart move that shows the sort of admirable adjustments this franchise is taking as it prepares for The Force Awakens to relaunch it back into the forefront of pop culture. It may be a cliche way to end a Star Wars related editorial, but screw it, I think this turn of events calls for it; the Force is strong with this particular decision.
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