Princess Leia Wants To Be A Hero In New Comic But People Won’t Let Her

Princess Leia Wants To Be A Hero In New Comic But People Won’t Let Her

Remember how, at the end of the first Star Wars movie, Leia Organa is the one giving out medals? She doesn’t get one herself. That odd metaphorical distance between her and the other Star Wars heroes is a crucial part of her new comic series.

The events in Princess Leia #1 start right at the finale of A New Hope, during the ceremony where the Rebel Alliance’s unlikely heroes get honoured for their deeds. But Leia, as a function of her station, has to stand apart. She’s the royal figurehead of the resistance movement, after all, and the speech that follows the medal ceremony gives her an eloquence that was hardly seen in the films where people first got to know her.

Though she’s just as responsible as Luke Skywalker or Han Solo in helping pull off the Alliance’s biggest win, the aftermath is much different for her. Leia has to grieve and do it publically, leaving her open to criticism to soldiers who think she’s not being emotional enough. Scenes where she’s called an ice queen sting in cruelly effective fashion, especially because the insults are being slung by the soldiers she wants to fight alongside.

So many characters have suffered loss in the Star Wars saga that it’s easy to forget that Leia has arguably lost the most. Her entire planet was obliterated by the first Death Star, leaving her without a mother, a father or a place to call home. The first issue of her comics series — written by Daredevil scribe Mark Waid and drawn by Terry Dodson — finds her searching for purpose as the fight between Alliance and Empire rages on. She’s supposed to be on the fast track to vengeance and glory but any hopes she has of being inspirational and special are being stifled by the domineering General Dodonna’s instinct to coddle her. Her idea to re-assemble the remnants of her homeworld’s populace is just the kind of thing that she should be doing. But, again, it’s her symbolic status — which makes her different than Luke or Han, who stumbled into their heroic destinies — that gets in the way.

Of course, Leia’s a symbol outside of the Star Wars fiction, too. The reason that she’s one of the franchise’s most popular characters isn’t just because she’s The Girl. It’s also because she’s multifaceted in a way that other characters aren’t. Just when it seems like she’s going to be yet another damsel in distress, she picks up a blaster and holds her own. The same film where she became a sex symbol to an entire generation was also the one where she choked Jabba the Hutt to death. Waid deftly juggles Leia’s wise-cracking, compassionate and authoritative sides with grief and yearning. She’s not the lost son of a prophetic figure like Luke, nor does she have loads of boast-worthy capers under her belt like Han. She’s more mundane at first blush, a politician pulled to the frontlines of war. But Leia is the Star Wars hero who defies expectations the most. She doesn’t have as many feats to brag about yet but, by the end of this well-handled first issue, you can tell that will change.


  • Funnily enough, the last Dark Horse published Star Wars series before the hand-over to Marvel deals with much the same timeframe that this comic seems to. In it, no-one bats an eyelid over Leia flying recon or other missions. Indeed, she more often than not took her orders from Mon Mothma, and from memory they usually the most secret and dangerous.

    Damn I wish Dark Horse could have kept the licence.

    • I kind of dig stories where the hero who was running shit in a time of crisis discovers that when things settle down, running shit more responsibly means NOT putting yourself in harm’s way at every available opportunity, denying them their instincts to be total badasses. There’s tonnes of them out there, and sometimes in the most surprising places. Like Destiny’s Hunter trainer – Cade (voiced amazingly by Nathan Fillion). The lore card explains that as an experienced and celebrated hunter, he ended up in a position of responsibility because he lost a bet. When you talk to him in the tower, he has a soundbite after you close his menu, where he lowers his voice to say: “Hey. Hey! …Take me with you.

      So yeah, I kinda like this take on BADASS Leia (who did all of the article mentioned heroics as well as once pretending to be an alien bounty hunter to bargain with a hutt crime boss by way of thermal detonator; the same hutt she then murdered with her own chains) suddenly discovering that symbolism and consistent leadership are important. Some of the dialogue and points seem a bit heavy-handed, but I like the concept.

      • This reminds me a lot of the Plot for Mistborn.

        More or less the main characters (Set in a world where the dark lord won, kinda like star wars) are planning to steal an exceedingly valuable artifact from the dark lord himself.
        The only way they can do that is by more or less rallying the enslaved populace (the descendants of those who opposed the dark lord’s rise) into open warfare with him, giving them time and distraction enough to steal from under his nose.

        The fallout for these savvy, suave and confident people when they suddenly end up in a world they aren’t used to, with a system shattered and new, inexperienced, figureheads leading their nation, is interesting and takes two more books to get through haha.

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