There's a short piece up on Wired about a new Star Wars comic book series. There's something new in it: Leia is a pilot. Like, an X-Wing pilot, in the orange jumpsuit and everything.
Series writer Brian Wood (of DMZ fame, and formerly of Rockstar Games) did a pretty good job of explaining how/why the hell this is in a recent interview with Newsarama:
Leia spends a LOT of time in an X-Wing here, as a pilot equal in stature to Wedge and Luke, and close in skill. If there's anything "controversial" in what people already know about my story, its this idea that Leia is a fighter pilot. That she ISN'T one, actually, since we've never seen her doing it. I simply applied logic to the situation: if we, here, learn to drive at age 16, why wouldn't someone in Star Wars learn how to fly as a coming of age thing? Luke did, as a farm boy. Wedge did, working his parent's gas station. Why not Leia, a daughter of privilege? She can handle firearms, she basically takes over her own escape from the Death Star. She survives torture. She BEATS torture, actually. Later we see her on speeder bikes, fixing the Falcon, shooting more dudes, and so on. It's almost insulting to suggest she can't fly an X-Wing, the Rebellion's fighter of choice.
Leia will be forming her own squadron, a stealth special ops team in X-Wings. Wood's explanation makes sense to me. A little jarring at first, if only because it's a new role for the character, but new things are what this franchise needs. Plus, you know, it's a comic book. About a fictional universe whose canon has been bent so many times it's a barely-armed and operational pretzel. So whatever.
There will be — and indeed already are — predictably hostile reactions to this, but The Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons is a tragic figure for a reason.