It is part of the Star Wars iconography, once parodied on Friends and worn just this summer by Amy Schumer on the cover of GQ. Princess Leia’s gold metal bikini from Return of the Jedi is such a revered part of Star Wars imagery that the original costume worn by Carrie Fisher fetched $96,000 at auction just last month. But if recent rumblings are true, there won’t be any “Slave Leia” images in future Star Wars merchandise.
Entertainment Weekly reported that J. Scott Campbell, a comic book artist at Marvel, wrote on social media that Star Wars‘s parent company Disney was getting rid of the skimpy Princess Leia costume.
“Disney is already well on [its] way to wiping out the ‘slave’ outfit from any future products [,] period. You will NOT see [any] future merchandising featuring the slave outfit ever again. Trust me.
“I’ve heard it from two sources. We can’t even draw Leia in a sexy pose at Marvel, let alone in that outfit! We also had a 3-D SL [Slave Leia] statue killed at a major manufacturer because there will no longer be any SL merchandise.”
EW said the comments were picked up by a Star Wars fan website, leading Campbell to respond on social media.
— J. Scott Campbell (@JScottCampbell) November 3, 2015
If it’s true that the “Slave Leia” costume is being wiped from the future Star Wars repertoire, the woman who made it famous, Fisher, probably won’t mind a bit. Her seeming distaste for the costume goes all the way back to when Return of the Jedi was first released in 1983. In an interview with Rolling Stone at the time, Fisher made indirect reference to the gold metal bikini by describing how Princess Leia’s character was set to develop in the film.
“In ‘Return of the Jedi,’ she gets to be more feminine, more supportive, more affectionate. But let’s not forget that these movies are basically boys’ fantasies. So the other way they made her more female in this one was to have her take off her clothes.”
If fans think Fisher might have come to love the gold bikini over the more than three decades since the film’s release, they are probably wrong. A new piece in Interview features Fisher interviewing Daisy Ridley, who stars as Rey in the upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Fisher, who according to Biography was about 21 when the first Star Wars was released in 1977 and about 27 at the time of Return of the Jedi, told the 23-year-old Ridley to stand up for her own image.
“[Y]ou should fight for your outfit. Don’t be a slave like I was.”
Ridley answered that she would, to which Fisher re-emphasized, “You keep fighting against that slave outfit.”
Meanwhile, Uproxx picked up more of Campbell’s online comments which suggested Ridley would not be put in the same position as was Fisher, as the franchise does not plan to incorporate exploitative or sexualized imagery in the new film. Uproxx writer Nathan Birch noted that such things are largely absent — with the exception of Leia’s gold bikini — even in the early Star Wars films. The less than two minutes of Leia in the costume were prompted by the evil actions of Jabba the Hutt, a “bad guy” in Return of the Jedi.
Although she likely won’t be sporting the gold bikini, Fisher will appear in the new film Star Wars: The Force Awakens along with Ridley and original cast members Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford. The movie opens on December 18.
[Main image courtesy of Lucasfilm via Timeout]